General Election 2017: What were the regions talking about?

Following the General Election on 8 June, this visualisation allows you to see the regional distribution of the most mentioned topics from the #GE2017 Twitter discussion.

For this interactive map, we have included all Tweets and replies from candidates, and have covered the time period from the dissolution of Parliament on 3 May right up to the 8 June.

By looking at what constituencies candidates are based in, we can build up a geographical picture of the top themes across the UK.

Many of the top topics that we look at - including Europe, the UK economy, and public health are well spread across the UK. In 2015, this wasn't the case. Take Europe, for example; in 2015, 35 per cent of Tweets came from London and the South East - suggesting that it was a political hot potato for those candidates. As we found in the manifestos, the debate about Europe has subsided.

In 2017, just 27 per cent of Tweets on Europe came from London and the South East - and it was not only far less mentioned, but more equally spread

However, some themes, like schools, have become more geographically concentrated. In 2017, 16 per cent of Tweets came from London, while mentions across the rest of the UK were fairly evenly distributed.

Interestingly, for community and society, we notice that Twitter mentions were much higher in London and Scotland than the rest of the country - remember that these were themes majored on by the Liberal Democrats and the SNP - perhaps their candidates in these places were particularly Twitter-vocal about this theme?

We see that discussion of National security is concentrated in London and the North West, perhaps in response to the tragic attacks in Manchester and London. 

Finally, Crime and Policing is mentioned much less in the Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales than in England - this may be because law and order (including policing and criminal law) is largely devolved to UK nations, and may also refer, again, to a heightened sense of need for security and police presence in parts of the UK.

What this map doesn't tell us, is what attitude candidates on Twitter are taking to these themes. When we look beyond the topic, and delve into how candidates were tweeting, we see - in contrast to 2015 - that they were overwhelmingly positive about most issues. There was a far more mixed picture last time round.

The outlier in this case is crime and policing - looking at individual tweets we can contextualise this negative sentiment. Many tweets are negative about policing budget cuts, especially in light of the recent London and Manchester attacks.

Stay tuned for more post-election analysis from the Political Futures Tracker.


George Windsor

George Windsor

George Windsor

Senior Policy Researcher

George was a Senior Policy Researcher in the Creative and Digital Economy team.

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Dr Dominic Rout

Dr Dominic Rout is a Research Associate working on analysing social media using natural language processing and information visualisation techniques.

Dr Mark A Greenwood

Dr Greenwood is a Research Associate in the Natural Language Processing Group at the University of Sheffield.

Dr Diana Maynard

Dr Diana Maynard is a Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield, and holds a PhD in Automatic Term Recognition.