Full Duplex has partnered with Abacus Data to provide complementary analysis of the Ontario election. Abacus Data is conducting online surveys using more traditional polling methodologies. Full Duplex is conducting analysis of Ontario election activity using Sysomos Heartbeat and MAP, and our own proprietary analysis tool, Compass.

On Tuesday we examined online election activity overall and noted that the trend of new participants joining online election chatter means an increased pool of expressed opinions. Yesterday we shared a breakdown of sentiment expressed about each leader and that people online are revealing shifts in voting intention. Today we look at issues and how they’re playing out online.

This week’s analysis looks at May 2 through 19, inclusive.

Most mentioned issues

Tim Hudak has done an effective job setting the election issue. Jobs. Employment. The Million Jobs Plan. Trimming 100,000 employees from the public service. All of that has dominated online election chatter. It spiked on May 9, and the swell in chatter carried through until the long weekend. Employment was at the top of the five most-discussed issues, accounting for 41% of activity. Education (16%) and energy (15%) trailed in second and third place respectively, while taxes and the economy round out the top five.

It’s worth noting that yesterday’s analysis revealed mentions of Tim Hudak are largely negative. This is also true of the online reception of his policies on employment, including how he’s delivering the message, alleged contradictions in his own statements and some inconsistencies in his math.

140520-VoteON-topissues

The following table compares the top five most mentioned issues in online chatter both including mentions of and by leaders, and those which make no mention of the leaders. It’s noteworthy that the top five issues are the same in both cases even if the ordering of the issues (based on volume of mentions) is different.

 Issues
All online activity
Issues
Without mentions of leaders
Issue #1EmploymentEmployment
Issue #2EducationEnergy
Issue #3EnergyEducation
Issue #4TaxesEconomy
Issue #5EconomyTaxes

Most mentioned issues by leader

The most mentioned issues in combination with mentions of the leaders presents a number of variations on the election issues. As noted above, employment is the dominant issue so it’s not surprising this issue tops the list for all big three leaders. Meanwhile, Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath have different sequencing of the top five election issues overall (see above).

Kathleen Wynne’s list sees federal government replace education (at the number five spot). That stems from the early stage of her campaign in which she took shots at the federal government on her proposed pension plan. Mike Schreiner’s list sees the appearance of environment and public transit in place of economy and energy.

Saturation of mentions does not necessarily suggest particular expressions of sentiment. In the case of Tim Hudak, for example, mentions of his policies with respect to employment and education have come under a healthy amount of online criticism. Mentions of the economy are not particularly favourable towards Kathleen Wynne. Similarly, many people have indicated they don’t trust Andrea Horwath with Ontario’s economy either, suggesting her party will increase taxes.

 Kathleen Wynne
(OLP)
Tim Hudak
(PCO)
Andrea Horwath
(NDP)
Mike Schreiner
(GPO)
Issue #1EmploymentEmploymentEmploymentEducation
Issue #2EconomyEducationEnergyEmployment
Issue #3TaxesTaxesTaxesEnvironment
Issue #4EnergyEnergyEconomyTaxes
Issue #5Federal governmentEconomyEducationPublic transit

Not making the cut or surprisingly few mentions

Going into the election, it seemed likely we would be hearing a lot about Dalton McGuinty’s legacy including the gas plant scandal, the erasing of hard drives from his office’s computers and the administration of the Ornge air ambulance service under his watch.

None of those issues are getting much online attention, despite attempts by Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath to energize interest in them. Collectively, McGuinty, the gas plant scandal, hard drives and Ornge have accumulated just 2,847 Twitter mentions.

This list identifies some other issues which are surprisingly calm in online chatter, along with the number of mentions they’ve attracted.

  • Auto insurance (1,236)
  • Fuel taxes (1,006)
  • Andrea Horwath’s proposed Accountability Minister (777)
  • Ring of fire (742)
  • Privatizing of the TTC (436)
  • Tolls roads (261)

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