For our latest social media project, we turned our attention to Twitter activity around the EU referendum to discover the answer to these and other questions. We paid particularly close attention to what happened before and after David Cameron’s official announcement on 20th February of the date for the referendum – to track how Twitter activity changed after the announcement.
David Cameron is most frequently mentioned (typically) as a negative motivator for people supporting the Leave campaign.
Boris Johnson is the next most frequently mentioned as people seem to be supporting him and his stance to leave.
Dan Hannan is the most Retweeted politician supporting the Leave Campaign, making him the 3rd most mentioned politician within the Leave Campaign.
The number of female tweeters increased slightly after the referendum announcement of February 20th – up to 29% from 25%.
Female tweeters are most likely to be supportive of the Stay campaign.
Tweeters who follow the Stay campaign are most likely to follow The Guardian, The Times and Buzzfeed. Tweeters who follow the Leave campaign are most likely to also follow The Mail Online, BBC News and The Ladbible.
The majority of the data analyzed was between November 1st 2015 and Feb 24th, with 2.5 million tweets occurring during that time frame.
For the purpose of this analysis we excluded “Organisational” tweets, such as those that came from media agencies and publications. Additionally, we only included tweets sent from public Twitter accounts in the UK.
In order to track overall sentiment for all Twitter activity relating to the EU referendum, we looked at a selection of hashtags to determine whether a tweet related to the Stay campaign, the Leave campaign, or was Neutral.
The results and methodology are available to download here.