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Top of the Pops: tracking the big issues that will win (or lose) the election

We can get a rough idea of the big issues MPs and candidates are talking about by following them in the Commons and trawling through their websites. But, understandably, not many people do this - and even if they did it would give a skewed picture - with lots of unhelpful political graffiti.

Using the Political Futures Tracker, we can cut through the rhetoric and distil what MPs are talking about over time, broken down by regions of the UK, or aggregated up to party level to get a perspective on the big issues that will determine the result of the coming General Election.

Looking at the political Twittersphere last week...

... a number of things we know about UK parties were confirmed… but many intriguing, and unexpected trends also emerged.

We can see in the graphs below that both Labour and the Conservatives are talking most on Twitter about the UK economy, Employment and Public Health - a theme that the Lib Dems have taken up strongly. So much so that Public Health vies for the lead on their hot topics list.

Public health is clearly a big issue for voters...

... according to ComRes' Good Morning Britain Undecided Voters Poll, Healthcare and the NHS is the most important issue for undecided voters when deciding who to vote for (at 55%), followed by immigration (at 40%) and the cost of everyday items such as food, energy and travel (at 29%).

Public issues graph
Public issues graph

Nearly all parties feature Europe in their top 10 issues of the week, one of the exceptions is the Labour party.

The debate around Europe has been crafted into a political tool, yet most parties find common ground on the need for reform of the UK's relationship with Europe.

Public issues graph

Perhaps predictably - amongst other topics common to most UK parties - UKIP are particularly vocal about Europe and Immigration, and the Green Party tweet prolifically about the Environment, and Climate Change (alongside the UK economy) – these themes we tend to recognise as core to the respective parties' values.

Public issues graph
Public issues graph

It will be no surprise to many that the SNP and Plaid Cymru are talking about Scotland and Wales respectively over all other themes.

But what may surprise some, is Plaid Cymru's focus on Scotland

… perhaps this points to the solidarity of devolved administrations, the political aspirations of Wales, or the notion of a common ground and shared political futures for these small nations.

Public issues graph
Public issues graph

Read the background to the Political Futures Tracker here, and look out for regular blogs running up to the General Election in May.

Author

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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