1 June 2011
More ‘Brick Bats’ than ‘Bouquets’ for Goff with Key and his National Party outperforming Labour in Social Media popularity
With the national election not far away, our political leaders are starting to generate their fair share of online chatter; and it’s very much a combination of ‘brick bats and bouquets’. These online conversations about John Key, Phil Goff, and the two main parties are sourced from the latest Nielsen review of New Zealand online message boards and blogs, in the lead up to Budget 2011 (with data coverage from April 20 to May 21).
The Nielsen BuzzMetrics service measures and monitors comments made on internet publically displayed message boards and blogs and have determined from this how the New Zealand population who participate in social media view the performances of the leaders of the National and Labour parties, and also the two parties themselves.
As a prelude to the election,John Key is clearly well ahead on overall commentary numbers and is currently in the box seat, although the gap is a little closer between the two main parties. (Chart 1)
Chart 1 – Share of online commentary for John Key vs. Phil Goff and for Nationals vs. Labour
Source: Nielsen BuzzMetrics (April 20 to May 21, 2011)
More importantly, when reviewing sentiment of the conversations about the political leaders it should be noted that both leaders have more negative comments made about them than positive, although for John Key, this is a pretty close call. Phil Goff, however, has a much lower positive sentiment than John Key, and a much higher negative rating as well. This means that overall Phil Goff is 21 points behind John Key on a combined positive and negative sentiment rating. (Chart 2)
Chart 2 – Sentiment analysis John Key vs. Phil Goff – Source: Nielsen BuzzMetrics (April 20 to May 21, 2011)
When assessing sentiment at the party level, it appears that both parties have substantial proportions of negative sentiment and are level with a much lower positive sentiment. However, when reviewing the negative gap, it still favours National by a reasonable 10 points margin. (Chart 3)
Chart 3 – Sentiment analysis National vs. Labour – Source: Nielsen BuzzMetrics (April 20 to May 21, 2011)
Across all comments,48% were comments purely about Key, Goff, or the two political parties with no particular issues being mentioned. Basically people saying whether they favour one or the other, or whether they are neutral. The rest of the comments about the 2 political leaders and parties also included topics being raised such as the upcoming election (20%), the 2011 budget itself (10%), the upgrade of the BMW ministerial cars and the news that that coincided with a donation from a BMW dealer of $50,000 to the National Party (6%). (Chart 4)
Chart 4 – Discussion points in sentiment analysis – Source: Nielsen BuzzMetrics (April 20 to May 21, 2011)
Overall the results were generally more balanced for the Prime Minister and his party, however with tones ranging from vitriolic to supportive:
“And after the government said it would not be changing KiwiSaver until after the election, we learn that the government’s contribution to the scheme will be changing in July. It seems that John Key just doesn’t know when to stop telling lies”.
“The national mob has never brought in any forward looking policy, all the progressive policy has been under a Labour government”.
“National will not lose this election, Labour HAVE NOTHING WHATSOEVER to offer and offer no alternatives”.
“I didn’t think Keys speech was a classic by any stretch, but it was better than what Goff’s mouth blurted out. What struck me was how confident John Key sounded. People like confidence”.
Phil Goff and Labour appear to have attracted more consistently negative comments, surrounding his leadership qualities and the party’s election chances:
“Phil Goff is an absolute joke of a leader and their party is a shambles, Labour won’t come close at all to beating National”.
“They are probably waiting to dump Goff first. There's no point in rolling out new policy with him as leader. Even Labour knows the public don't listen to anything he says”.
“I was a Labour voter. I thought Helen at least had strength of character. Labour in its current form does not inspire”.
“Labour has to claw back the traditional working class that they lost under Helen Clark's liberal elite. Not sure career hippy turned funky Phil Goff is the man to do it”.
“These blatant untruths just show why Phil Goff should not be Prime Minister. Own Goal, epic fail”
Also worthy of note is the difference in both leaders’ current use of social media.As of 25 May 2011, John Key has a much bigger fan base and number of followers on Facebook and Twitter, but Phil Goff has actually tweeted more.Phil Goff also has more recent postings on his Facebook page (16-25 May), but a high number are made by other people while John Key appears to be the only “poster” on his page. However, Key leads quite comfortably for the average number of comments and “likes” per his recent individual postings on his Facebook page compared to Goff.
Summarising, Tony Boyte, Nielsen Associate Director of Research, Media comments “Clearly these early findings, especially regarding sentiment, highlight how important it is for New Zealand politicians to monitor what is being said in social media, right now and throughout the lead up to the November elections”.
About Nielsen BuzzMetrics
The Nielsen BuzzMetrics service tracks 200,000 unique individuals as well as 3,300 unique blogs and over 1 million comments in New Zealand. Globally, the service tracks more than 100 million blogs and 100,000 communities, and has more than three billion comments in its database.
Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information,please visit www.nielsen.com.
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