Political discovery on Twitter

Thursday, 19 March 2015

A study of UK Twitter users has revealed new insights into attitudes about politics and voting in the UK, particularly among those under the age of 35.

The study of 3,000 Twitter users was commissioned by Twitter and carried out by Promise Communispace (@Promise_CSpace), and comes ahead of the UK general election on May 7.

According to the research, one in three (34%) of surveyed UK Twitter users aged 18-34 have changed their vote from one party to another based on something they have seen on Twitter. The study also showed that:

  • 45% of Twitter users aged 18-34 have become interested in or joined a political or social cause that they learned about through Twitter
  • 47% of Twitter users aged 18-34 have reconsidered their views on a specific issue as a result of using Twitter
  • 37% of Twitter users would go to Twitter to actively look for information about politics or the UK general election

Politically engaged

Almost three quarters (74%) of survey Twitter users aged 18-34 are planning to vote in the upcoming 7 May election, rising to 83% among Twitter’s UK users as a whole. UK voter turnout in the 2010 election was around 65%.

And of those 18-34 year olds questioned, 20% said they were still undecided about how they planned to vote, making the platform a fertile ground for campaigners looking to influence opinion.

Discovering opinions

We know that every day a broad range of conversation about UK politics takes place on Twitter, with more than three quarters (78%) of UK MPs on the platform. There were more than seven million Tweets about last year’s Scottish #IndyRef, making it the most-talked-about UK political trend of 2014.

What this research also shows is how people use the platform for discovery. People come to Twitter to listen to conversations and opinions on political and social issues, and find out about how politics affects the things that matter to them.

The study showed how Political influencers can use Twitter to reach new audiences

78% of users surveyed said that Twitter is a good way to discover different people’s points of view on politics. They also looked to the platform to help them make sense of the election.

When it comes to using Twitter to get involved with politics, the top ten things users wanted were to:

  1. Get information in a simple-to-understand way (70%)
  2. Get live and spontaneous information (70%)
  3. Discover a diverse range of opinions about issues that matter to me (68%)
  4. Make politics more interesting (66%)
  5. Get a more honest and unpolished perspective on politics (66%)
  6. Get closer to local issues (65%)
  7. Discover information that makes it easier to make a decision (64%)
  8. Get genuinely unbiased coverage (64%)
  9. See a more humorous side to the election (62%)
  10. Feel more involved in the General Election (60%)

About the research: The study was carried out in the UK by Promise Communispace in conjunction with Lightspeed GMI between 25 February and 3 March 2015. The total sample of the survey was 2,965, including 1,722 monthly Twitter users; 1,105 of whom were aged between 18 and 34.