PEI Political Parties on Twitter

Twitter displays a “followers” count for every user and using the Twitter API this information can be extracted for a collection of Twitters users. I fed the Twitter handles of PEI’s registered political parties into the API and extracted follower counts for each party:

I thought it would be interesting to contrast the Twitter follower “popular vote” with the actual popular vote from the 2011 Provincial General Election. This isn’t quite an apples-to-apples comparison because whereas each elector can only vote for one party, each Twitter user can follow any number of others. To calculate the “followers” number, I took the total number of followers of all parties, and then took each individual party’s total followers as a proportion of that. Of course, “Twitter users” is an imperfect reflection of “electors.” Also, following a party doesn’t necessary convey supporting that party (journalists, for example, will often follow all the parties). But it’s an interesting comparison nonetheless, inasmuch as the two sets of numbers are somewhat aligned:

It’s a different story when you compare the number of tweets each party has posted over the years they’ve been active; the NDP is the clear winner here. Again, though, this isn’t necessarily a measure of anything other than proclivity for tweeting.

Speaking of “over the years,” here’s when each party launched itself onto Twitter:

Party Account Creation Date
PEIgreens February 3, 2015
IslandParty_PEI October 9, 2012
PEILiberalParty July 18, 2011
NDPPEI November 15, 2012
PEIPCParty July 28, 2011

If you want to keep up with all the parties without having to follow any particular one (or any at all), you can watch this Twitter list of all the parties.

I’m archiving all of the data I used here every night at midnight, and I’ll update this post as the putative 2015 Provincial General Election progresses. That charts, by the way, come via the excellent, free Chartbuilder web tool.


Ton Zijlstra's picture
Ton Zijlstra on April 6, 2015 - 12:44

Peter, you may also be interested in running a 'Politwoops' offshoot. Politwoops tracks twitter messages from politicians that they deleted after tweeting. (See for the Canadian MPs deleted tweets) AFAIK the code is available, and you can run your own version, seeding it with the twitter accounts of PEI politicians and parties.

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