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How #hashtags are influencing elections: Insights from the US and French elections


In the corporate world, marketers measure hashtags on social media to gauge the success of their campaigns. We wondered: are hashtags effectively influencing the political realm? Can we predict the outcome of presidential races by analyzing hashtag performance? A new analysis using Netvibes Dashboard Intelligence says yes. #hashtags are definitely influencing elections. By looking at hashtag trends over time, we see that the fastest-growing hashtags tend to correlate with winning elections—both in the US as well as France. Here’s what we found:

Netvibes dashboard: 2017 France elections

Last year we designed a custom Netvibes dashboard to track and analyze the 2016 US Presidential election. For 2017 we are analyzing the French presidential race: you can see the live dashboard here and read the insights on our French Election blog.

Hashtags and French Elections
On Sunday, April 23, French voters went to the polls in a first-round vote to narrow down a field of 11 candidates to 2 finalists. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen were the winners on Sunday. Ahead of the vote, Netvibes analyzed candidate hashtags to predict the outcome.

As a reminder, during both primaries, we found an interesting fact: the leader in hashtags won his elections, both times.

Here is the last poll on vote intentions:

French election poll: vote intentions

and here are the hashtags for the past 30 days, as of Friday, April 21:

France election: Candidate hashtag popularity

Based on this chart we might have expected Fillon to win, but he came in third instead. Thus, for the first round of the French elections, the rule of “hashtag leader wins” did not apply in this case. However, the role of hashtags remains very influential. Here’s how:

Featured in the table below are:

  • The volume of candidates’ hashtags from April 20 (Thursday)
  • The volume of hashtags from April 1st
  • The position of the candidates per intentions (poll numbers)
  • Actual voting results; and
  • Candidates’ positions in terms of hashtag volume on 4/1 and 4/20

Macron won a position to Melenchon on Thursday.

France elections: candidate positions in hashtags and polls

When we compare the relative hashtag volume shares among these 6 candidates between 4/1 and 4/20, we find that:

Candidates who increased their hashtag shares before the first round also increased their results vs intentions.

Macron increased by 16% and got 4.37% better on results/poll. So did Fillon and NDA. Proportions are also respected.

France elections: Candidate hashtag analysis

In other words, an increase in hashtags correlates with an increase in votes. The full tweet analysis is in our CEO’s previous blog.

Hashtags and VP choices during US Elections

We found a similar pattern back in 2016 with the American election. While we were waiting to see which Vice-Presidential candidates would be chosen by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as their running mates, we found that the most-popularly mentioned VPs were:

Republicans:

  1. Marco Rubio
  2. Newt Gingrich
  3. Chris Christie
  4. Mike Pence

Netvibes Election dashboard: VP mentions

Although Rubio was #1 in mentions, he was not Trump’s pick. Of course, Mike Pence was ultimately chosen as Trump’s VP. When we look at growth trends rather than raw numbers, we can see that, although Pence was 4th in overall popularity, Pence was #1 in terms of growing social mentions at the time of the announcement.

Netvibes election dashboard - Republican VP

This same pattern held with the Democratic VP candidates as well. Although Elizabeth Warren was top in overall mentions, the fastest-growing VP candidate was Tim Kaine, who went on to win the VP nod.

Netvibes Election Dashboard - Democrat VP

In conclusion, hashtags and other social media commentary can tell us a lot about what’s happening in a political race. The overall numbers are less important than understanding relative trends over time.

Netvibes Dashboard Intelligence delivers real-time insights into what’s happening in your industry. For a free demo, please contact us.

One Response to “How #hashtags are influencing elections: Insights from the US and French elections”

  1. #1 | Société informatique Paris | May 2nd, 2017 at 7:31 am   Reply

    Les # et le suivi en règle général des raiseaux sociaux donnent une bonne indication. Encore faut-il connaitre les ressources étant misent en oeuvre par les différents partis.
    On en a vu la démonstration au premier tour ou un parti bien implanté sur le Web avec des militants jeunes, n’a pas gagné sa place au second tour.

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