Indian Elections 2014: Jigsaw Faculty Analyzes the Parties Twitter Campaigns

In two months from now, as the world’s largest democracy goes to the polls at the 16th Indian General Elections, political parties alike are making their own plans to return to power. Along with organizing mass political rallies and sharing attractive party manifestos, one of the latest strategies has been trying to influence the voter’s perception through social media. In this digital era, social media is believed to be a make or break deal for many political parties especially with the urban voters. A great example is the AAP political party’s tremendous success during the recent Delhi state elections towards the end of 2013. AAP implemented an aggressive social media strategy using their in-house volunteer force and are following follow a similar strategy even for the national elections. Following on AAP’s example, some prominent political parties like Congress and BJP have increased their activity on social media in the hope of influencing the voters to bring them back to power.

When we look at the data from twitter for a period of 30 days, clearly AAP leads the way in terms of activity compared to Congress and BJP. As per the statistics gathered from these parties official twitter handles, AAP has more than 5 Lakh followers with BJP closely following up at a 4 Lakh figure. On the other hand, Congress seems to be alot quieter with just 1 Lakh followers noted on their official twitter handle. In terms of average monthly tweet activity, there are about 3 Lakh tweets for AAP, whereas BJP and Congress both are failing to register even 1 Lakh tweets. However, one interesting trend to note would be that BJP has a more positive sentiment score associated with the twitter conversations even though overall numbers are low. AAP and Congress have almost similar sentiment scores. Sentiment score associated with the tweets is a proxy measure of a positive perception and higher the value the stronger the association towards a political party.

An important factor which would have a big influence in attracting voters would be the prime ministerial candidates fielded by political parties. Though only BJP has officially named Narendra Modi as their probably PM, both Congress and AAP did not reveal the names yet. But in terms of leading their party’s national campaign efforts, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal names would come out in the front for Congress and AAP respectively. In this scenario, Arvind Kejriwal leads the tweet activity by about 33% compared to Narendra Modi. But clearly number of followers for Narendra Modi are 50% higher than Arvind Kejriwal which indicates a higher support base on twitter for BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. Rahul Gandhi has no official twitter handle.

Even if you look at twitter statistics at a single campaign level, Arvind Kejirwal attracted more activity compared to his counterparts. Towards the end of February 2013 around the same dates, Narendra Modi was in Punjab, Arvind Kejriwal was in Haryana and Rahul Gandhi was in Uttarakand promoting their respective party’s for the coming national elections. From the above graph, we can see that Arvind Kejriwal attracted more than 40,000 tweets as part of twitter conversations whereas Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi did not manage even 50% of those.

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