Events

Inside the British Columbia general election on Twitter

By Jennifer Hollett

Voters across British Columbia will take to the polls on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 for the 41st British Columbia general election (#BCelxn17). In recent weeks,Twitter has been home to much discussion as the province primes to elect both a Premier and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) for its 87 constituencies.

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Christy Clark (@christyclarkbc) of the British Columbia Liberal Party is looking to remain in office for her second term as Premier of British Columbia. Running against her is John Horgan (@jjhorgan) leader of the British Columbia New Democratic Party and Andrew Weaver (@AJWVictoriaBC) leader of the Green Party of British Columbia. Current polls suggest the race is neck-and-neck the Liberal Party and the NDP, similar to the last provincial election in 2013.

Not surprisingly, Clark has the most Twitter mentions of the three candidates so far. Since the writ dropped on April 11 and the election was officially called, Clark has 1.3x more Twitter mentions than Horgan and 2.9x more than Weaver. Clark also gained the most new Twitter followers during the campaign, 2x more than Horgan and 2.9x more than Weaver.

As Canada’s second most followed Premier on Twitter (after Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne) and the 13th most followed active political figure in the country, Twitter has been a key communications tool for Clark on the campaign trail.

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This election was the first in Canadian history to receive a custom emoji from Twitter. During the campaign, Canadians on Twitter have been able to join the discussion and unlock a ballot box emoji by using any one of the #BCVotes, #BCdebate2017, or #BCelxn17 hashtags.

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Elections BC (@ElectionsBC) has also joined the conversation with a selfie wall at advance voting stations, featuring their #IVoted hashtag.

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Voters, media and pundits alike have sent thousands of Tweets about the election as British Columbians have flocked to Twitter to discuss candidates and the key issues that will impact their province in the years to come.

Here are the five election issues that have appeared most often in Tweets about #BCelxn17:

  1. Jobs and Labour
  2. Education and Schools
  3. Taxes
  4. Healthcare
  5. Housing

The conversation has also escalated in recent days as more and more voters join the discussion as election day nears on May 9.

Here are the five days that saw the highest volume of #BCelxn17 discussion on Twitter:

  1. April 29, 2017 - Advanced voting opens
  2. April 26, 2017 - Main televised leadership debate from Vancouver, BC
  3. April 19, 2017 - Radio leadership debate from Surrey, BC
  4. April 11, 2017 - #BCelxn17 officially called (“Writ Day”)
  5. April 28, 2017 - The #IamLinda hashtag emerges Christy Clark encounters a voter on the campaign trail
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#IamLinda was one of the emergent hashtags during the campaign after a chance encounter between Clark and a voter named Linda in a grocery store. The resulting footage, where the voter informed Clark that she would not be voting for her, went viral and the #IamLinda hashtag was born, adopted by other supporters looking for new leadership in the province. While some suggest Linda may be a plant, the hashtag has continued to have momentum.

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Keep an eye on #BCVotes and #BCelxn17 for the latest news, conversations and developments in the BC election.

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@jenniferhollett

Jennifer Hollett

‎@jenniferhollett‎

Head of News Partnerships, Twitter Canada