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Swaying Political Opinion through Social Media

How Did Kevin Rudd Turn Conversations Around?

The election campaign in Australia has been peppered with many incidents, starting of course with the momentous spill where Kevin Rudd overthrew Julia Gillard for the position of Prime Minister just three months before the Federal Election was due to be held. This may seem a little cheeky, however, Julia Gillard did the same thing to Kevin Rudd seven months after the Australian people voted the Labor Party (led by Kevin Rudd) into government 3 years ago. So why would ALP change leaders just prior to an election? Is Rudd an exceptional orator or debater? In a blog post for SocialMediaNews we analysed how Rudd has swayed social media opinions.

Swaying Political Opinion through Social Media image Australian Federal Election

We used the ForSight™ platform to run the analysis of the political conversation due to ForSight’s ability to provide accurate results even with the sarcasm and innuendos that are often characteristic of political conversations. We analysed 320,239 relevant social media posts during the month of June leading up to the spill.

Swaying Political Opinion through Social Media image Changing Political Opinion through Social Media

Julia Gillard unsurprisingly dominated the conversation with 60% of the conversation focused on support or criticism of her leadership. Support was mixed with 33% backing Gillard’s leadership, while 27% expressed criticism.

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Surprisingly support for Kevin Rudd was low at 10%, leading up to the spill and interestingly negative criticism of Rudd was fairly high at 21%. Looking at the posts it seems much of the criticism came about as rumors began to swirl that Rudd would seek to overthrow Gillard.

So the question is, did Rudd turn opinions around? Was he able to garner more support than Gillard leading up to the election?

To read how Rudd has engaged citizens on social media, check out the rest of the blog post at socialmedianews.com.au.

For further insight into how social media can sway political opinion, we invite you to download our case study on Analyzing How Satire Propagates Political Messaging and to follow us on Twitter for the latest analysis of politics and current events.

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