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As a follow up to our last blog, entitled “Analysing Twitter before Federal Budget 2011”, we wanted to do a comparable analysis to see how the conversation on Twitter developed after the presentation of the Canadian federal budget on March 22, 2011.

To remain consistent, we are reviewing the very popular Canadian political hashtag; “#cdnpoli”. The review includes reference to #cpc, #ndp and #lpc and includes a count of tweets which reference the budget directly.

This review began at 4:00pm on March 22 and ended 42 hours later. From the budget presentation to 11:00am on March 24, the #cdnpoli hash tag amassed 14,112 mentions in Twitter. In the 42 hours prior to the announcement, there was a mere 3,400 mentions, even though the budget announcement date was set well in advance of March 22.

We asked the question “Is the budget a big deal?” in the period leading up to this announcement and found that only 1.4% of the tweets which included the #cdnpoli hashtag also included a mention of the budget. Post-budget, we see nearly 21% (2,915) of the 14,100 tweets mentioned ‘budget’ – a BIG change.

NDP mentions overtake CPC following budget

When looking at mentions of #cpc, #lpc and #ndp, we find something extremely interesting. The #ndp hashtag has grown enormously and was mentioned far more frequently than the other parties’ hashtags.

The data clearly demonstrates a change in interest from the #cpc in the period prior to the announcement to the #ndp post announcement. A more in-depth analysis of the political climate and Twitter influencers would be required to help explain the reasons behind this shift.

Do people find it easier to participate in a conversation using simple retweets rather than presenting their own arguments? We found that after a major announcement, there is a change in the ratio of original tweets to retweets. In the period after the announcement, we see 51% of the tweets for #cdnpoli are retweets – that number was only 43% in the period prior to the budget release.

The level of interest in this conversation grew drastically with an audience of well over 4,700 different users participating. As one would expect, a significant portion of this is by users tweeting less than five times (4,247) with the balance actively engaged in the conversation (i.e. tweeting more than 5 times over the 42 hour period on the same topic). Of note, one person was able to tweet on this topic 231 times. At the time of this review, this user has 689 followers— but it is difficult to get a sense of how much of an influencer this person could be with respect to this topic without analyzing the nature of the person’s interests and tweets.

Shifting attention toward the election

Finally, rather than studying the sentiment of the tweets, we chose to look at the volume of tweets over the time period to see how long the conversation remained highly active. Overall, it was a quick burst during the budget announcement with a relatively quick drop within a few hours. The following day showed a small blip of interest, and flattened out quickly as seen in the graph below.

Will the interest continue on Twitter and other social media venues now that the government has fallen and an election is imminent? Follow our blogs over the next several weeks of campaigning for further social media election analysis.

Read more about Canadian politics on Cardinal Path


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