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Published July 18th 2014

Did Gove’s Move Provoke a Reaction from the Right Groups?

Gove was mentioned over 44,000 times across social media in the 48 hours following the reshuffle, mainly via Twitter. Many see the conservative reshuffle...

Love him or hate him, the Conservative party’s new Chief of Staff has certainly caused social storm of opinions. Michael Gove was mentioned over 44,000 times across social media in the 48 hours following the reshuffle, mainly via Twitter.

Many see the conservative reshuffle, particularly the abdication of Michael Gove, as an attempt to make a bid for key groups of voters in addressing their ‘male, pale and stale’ image.

To test this theory, we’ve used Brandwatch to see if some key groups of missing Conservative voters: teachers, parents, students and women are commenting on Gove’s departure.

In order to do this, let’s take a look at three areas of the Brandwatch demographics dashboard: gender, interests and professions.

The gender split for commentators on Gove’s move is significantly more male than female with a 60/40% split.


Looking at the interests of people commenting on Gove’s move, politics rather than parenting comes top in our graph. Although political commentators will be the first to voice their opinions, as it stands, the data implies that the Tories have struggled to change the opinions of key groups who have stayed relatively quiet.

Top Professions Moving on to sentiment, the tone of the mentions around Gove are, perhaps unsurprisingly, negative.

Of all emotive mentions 2232 were negative and 813 positive. Much of this negative sentiment was due to influential tweeters such as @JohnPrescott and his anti-Gove views being retweeted 1195 times and viewed by 817,175 people.


Also significant is the way in which the negative conversation on Gove engulfed chat surrounding the Conservative party.

The Labour party had 1273 positive mentions during the reshuffle compared to just 668 positive mentions relating to the Conservatives.

Worryingly for the Conservatives, many of these comments have been made by the key groups they were looking to attract. Parents were the second largest group in their criticism of the party, whilst students and teachers made up 24% of the negative mentions about the reshuffle.

Whilst politicians have traditionally been happy to count on YouGov polls to assess support in the run up to a UK election, it is clear they should now also be paying attention to social media to unearth real views and opinions behind the voters vote.

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