Mary Lou McDonald and Sinn Féin top Twitter polls on election day

Tweet volumes were 43% higher during ‘#GE2020’ than 2016 election campaign

Sinn Féin was the most talked-about political party on Twitter and Mary Lou McDonald the most talked-about leader. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

Sinn Féin was the most talked-about political party on Twitter and Mary Lou McDonald the most talked-about leader. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

 

Activity on Twitter mirrored general election voting as Sinn Féin was the most talked-about political party in tweets on polling day and Mary Lou McDonald the most talked-about leader.

Data released by the social media network show that Leo Varadkar and Fine Gael were the second most talked-about on election day followed by Micheál Martin and Fianna Fáil.

Tweet volumes were 43 per cent higher during the three weeks of campaigning in the 2020 election compared with the 2016 general election, according to the statistics from Twitter.

The network recorded three peaks in conversations on the social network during the election campaign: when the election was called on January 14th, during the RTÉ Leaders’ Debate on January 27th, and then on polling day itself, February 8th when the highest peak was recorded.

The media company said that there were 758 tweets posted in the 60 seconds after the release of the Ipsos/MRBI exit poll for The Irish Times, RTÉ, TG4 and UCD just after 10pm on Saturday.

Within the first half-hour of polls closing, there were 16,000 tweets on the general election posted under the “#GE2020” hashtag.

‘Healthy debate’

“Throughout #GE2020 in Ireland, there was a consistently high level of positive and healthy political debate on Twitter between candidates, parties, voters, journalists, civil society groups and interested election-watchers,” said Ronan Costello, Twitter’s public policy manager for Europe.

The social network prohibited political and issue-based advertising on its service and offered safety and security training to political parties and candidates showing them tools such as the mute, block and report functions as well as security tips and techniques.

The company has a reporting channel called a “partners support portal” that allows Irish organisations to raise issues emerging on the network quickly with Twitter.

According to recent research from Ipsos MRBI, 30 per cent of the population of Ireland have a Twitter account, with 12 per cent of the population using the network on a daily basis.