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Online Trends

Published April 12th 2016

React: The London Mayoral Race Heats Up on Twitter

Brandwatch analyses conversation surrounding the London Mayor election, monitoring the topics and candidates getting people tweeting most.

The London mayoral elections are just weeks away and tension is building.

While Sadiq Khan steams ahead in the polls and coverage paints a picture of a two horse race between the Labour candidate and Conservative Zac Goldsmith, we wondered if the data would show the same.

We took a look at the Twitter conversation surrounding the London mayoral elections last week to see how the candidates are doing, and the issues that are getting Londoners tweeting most.

We found 26k related tweets coming from London. Here’s what they contained:


The candidates generating buzz

Sadiq had a decent week on social last week, continuing to keep the lead on mentions and claiming the title of having the most shared link on social in relation to the London Mayoral race: his campaign video.

London Mayor 4thApril10thApril mentions

Zac Goldsmith made up the next largest chunk of mentions, with nearly a third of the share of voice for all the candidates. George Galloway, who boasts the largest Twitter following of all the candidates, came in third, while Sian Berry and Caroline Pidgeon were third and fourth respectively.

The week certainly saw Peter Whittle and Sophie Walker struggle to gain exposure on Twitter, and the most shared link around the UKIP candidate was fairly brutal.

Walker’s was far more complimentary, but this didn’t translate into improving her share of voice which sat at 2%.

It’s worth noting that while five of the candidates registered somewhere between 0 and 1% of the Twitter conversation they boast larger followings elsewhere.

Ankit Love, whose campaign is fairly quiet on Twitter, has a page with over 160,000 likes on Facebook. His most shared link on Twitter last week was an interview with Get West London in which he hinted that his campaign is yet to fully take off.

A Twitter page for the One Love Party, which he represents, has been set up very recently.

Big days 4th-10thApril

Many of the candidates took part in Twitter chats last week and saw mention spikes on those particular days. Tuesday also saw the #londondebate which was attended by five of the candidates, giving a boost in mentions to the attendees and to George Galloway who did not attend (and wasn’t very happy about it).

While we didn’t include candidates registering only a tiny percentage of the conversation, Britain First candidate Paul Golding enjoyed a brief mention spike on Saturday when he snapped a selfie with Newsnight presenter Evan Davis, claiming he was a “supporter”.

The overall conversation is dominated by male tweeters, and the only candide to push females over the 50/50 mark was Womens’ Equality Party candidate Sophie Walker.

The female candidates are attracting the most female mentions, it seems.
Genderbreakdown 4-10 April


The big issues

The London mayoral elections have seen issues like housing, transport and policing dominate Twitter conversation week on week, but last week saw some pressing current coming to the surface.

The contentious Garden Bridge and Panama Leaks got 354 and 409 mentions respectively, while cyclists rallied on social to encourage candidates to prioritize the safety of bike users in the capital.

London Mayor issues 4th-10thapril

Our analysis showed that men tweeted most about transport, housing and security/policing most, while women’s priorities were similar: housing, then transport and security/policing.


Good week/bad week?

Looking at the front runners, it was certainly Sadiq Khan who won on social this week.

Not only on mentions, but on positive stories being shared about him. Aside from his campaign video, an Evening Standard article based on a quote from him on foreign property investors was his top shared link.

He also managed to stay on top of the inevitable silly questions during his #AskSadiq Twitter chat, including this shoutout to Nandos.

Sadly for Mr Goldsmith the stories weren’t so cheery. An interview in a black cab with the BBC revealed his knowledge of London trivia was pretty awful, prompting a lot of lolling on social.

He was also mocked by the Independent after his #AskZac Twitter chat on Friday included a lot of references to Zac from Saved by the Bell.

The topic cloud surrounding the chat also included significant references to the Panama leaks as tweeters demanded the candidate to be transparent with his finances and slated his connections with the disability benefits cuts. 

The top retweeted link was a tweet about a wardrobe mishap and the second an article in the New Statesman penned by a Conservative activist labelling his campaign damaging, exploitative and ugly.

Despite signs that his Twitter performance was going well, last week was a difficult one for Zac Goldsmith.


Are you a journalist looking for more London Mayor data? Email react@brandwatch.com


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