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 Monday we examined election activity observed online to date. We noted new participants continue to join the election chatter. This offers the opportunity to measure new expressions of sentiment and stance. Yesterday we shared a breakdown of activity and sentiment associated with the leaders between May 20 and 25, expanding on similar analysis of May 20 through 19 published last week.. Today we look at issues and how they’re playing out online, also building on a similar analysis issued last week.

You may also be interested in an infographic on social media in the election which we published yesterday.

This week’s analysis looks at May 20 through 25, inclusive.

Most mentioned issues

Tim Hudak set the election issue early out of the gate. Employment, his Million Jobs Plan and proposed cuts to the public service have dominated online chatter about the election. Everyday. Between May 20 and 25, employment held a 35% share of mentions among the top five issues. That’s down 6% from May 2 through 19, though still well ahead of the still-second place issue, education, which has a 19% share of the top five. That’s up 3% from last week’s analysis.

Taxes (16%) takes third place this week, swapping last week’s position with energy (15%) which moves to fourth. Economy holds the fifth spot (14%).

It’s worth noting that yesterday’s analysis reveals a majority share of mentions of Kathleen Wynne and Tim Hudak, and a healthy amount about Andrea Horwath are negative. This includes to reception of their policies related to the top five issues.


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.

All online activity
Without mentions of leaders
Issue #1EmploymentEmployment
Issue #2EducationTaxes
(was Energy)
Issue #3Taxes
(was Energy)
(was Education)
Issue #4Energy
(was Taxes)
(was Economy)
Issue #5EconomyEconomy
(was Taxes)

Most mentioned issues by leader

The most mentioned issues in combination with mentions of the leaders presents a number of variations on the top five 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. Otherwise, with the exception of healthcare displacing economy on the list of most mentioned issues associated with Andrea Horwath, the lists for the big three leaders are similar enough.

A single entry on Mike Schreiner’s list makes the top five issues associated with his name notably different from the other leaders. Second on his list is local beer (displacing public transit). This stems from online enthusiasm for comments he made during an appearance on TVO’s The Agenda. The Twitterati apparently appreciated the idea of making it easer for local and craft beers to compete in Ontario’s beer market.

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 expressed concern Andrea Horwath’s policies will result in an increase in taxes.

 Kathleen Wynne
Tim Hudak
Andrea Horwath
Mike Schreiner
Issue #1EmploymentEmploymentEmploymentEducation
Issue #2EconomyEducationEducation
(was Energy)
Local Beer
(was Employment)
Issue #3Energy
(was Taxes)
(was Taxes)
(was Taxes)
(was Environment)
Issue #4Taxes
(was Energy)
(was Economy)
(was Taxes)
Issue #5Education
(was Federal gov't)
(was Economy)
(was Education)
(was Public transit)

Not making the cut or surprisingly few mentions

Despite several attempts by Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath, there has been very little online chatter about Dalton McGuinty and his scandal-marred legacy. Collectively, McGuinty, the gas plant scandal, the erasing of hard drives and the administration of the Ornge air ambulance service accumulated just 821 Twitter mentions between May 20 and 25.

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

  • Auto insurance (536)
  • Fuel taxes (469)
  • Andrea Horwath’s proposed Accountability Minister (116)
  • Tolls roads (43)
  • Privatizing of the TTC (0)

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