Well, there is just over a week to go until Canada’s federal election and I finally managed to put together another update of the leader Twitter follower numbers I first began looking at with my August 13th post and then August 29th and September 19th. It has been a long election campaign and the final set of numbers I am going to look at show some minor changes.
For this final election post, I recorded the number of Twitter followers each federal party leader had as of approximately 7am on Friday October 9th. If we compare the distribution that existed August 13th with the distribution on October 9th, there has been only a very small shift (see Figure 1). Mulcair and May have seen a slight increase in their share, Harper a slight decline while Duceppe and Trudeau have stayed the same.
When it comes to the total number of Twitter followers, the picture is also generally the same as previous. As Figure 2 illustrates, Harper still has the largest number of Twitter followers at 910,000 followed by Trudeau with 771,000. Based on the total number of Twitter followers and its evolution over time it would appear to have always been a two-way race between the Liberals and the Conservatives despite the election polls earlier on that showed an Orange surge. Indeed, the more recent polls have shown a rather large drop in NDP support and an emerging two-way race between the Liberals and the Conservatives.
While all the party leaders have shown growth in their Twitter followers over time – with Mulcair and May exhibiting the highest growth rates - the growth rates for the September 18th to October 9th period (Figure 3) show that growth rates have slipped for Harper, Mulcair and May while they have gone up for Trudeau and Duceppe. At least in terms of acquiring Twitter followers, Trudeau and Duceppe seem to have a new momentum though what it will translate into on election day is anybody’s guess.
In the end the real question the question is just how much of a barometer of electoral support the number of Twitter followers actually is. In the end, the only thing that really counts is what happens in the ballot box on election day. However, if the final election results and subsequent commentary show it actually always was a two-way race, then you heard it here first.