Events

Inside the Progressive Conservative Assoc. of Alberta leadership race

By Jennifer Hollett
Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta (@PC_Alberta) will select a new leader on Saturday, March 18 and Jason Kenney (@jkenney) has emerged as the frontrunner in the media and on Twitter.

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Kenny will join Byron Nelson (@ByronForAlberta) and Richard Starke (@RichardStarke) on the three-person ballot to select a new PC leader for the province. Between candidate debates, a suggested union with the Wildrose Party of Alberta (@TeamWildrose) and more, the provincial Progressive Conservative (#pcaa) leadership race has been a hot Twitter topic amongst Albertans in recent months.

We’ve taken a look at the data to see what the Twitter conversation (and the #pcaa hashtag itself) has told us about the race thus far and what reactions might be at the polls on March 18th.

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Having worked in several Canadian ministries in the federal government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, including Immigration, Multiculturalism, Employment, Social Development and Defence, Kenney has brought a large built-in Twitter audience to the #pcaa race. He has more than 100,000 Twitter followers, which is 19x more Twitter followers than the other two #pcaa leadership candidates combined.

Kenney’s Twitter following has grown 21 per cent since the last PC Alberta policy convention, held in Red Deer over the weekend of November 5-6, 2016. While Nelson’s Twitter following grew 35 per cent during that time compared to Kenney’s 21 per cent and Starke’s 18 per cent, Kenney has added more than 17,000 new Twitter followers in total since the convention—thousands more than his fellow candidates during the same stretch.

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In fact, Kenney’s Twitter following is larger that many of Alberta’s most well known politicians including interim Conservative Party of Canada leader Rona Ambrose (@RonaAmbrose), Alberta Premier Rachel Notley (@RachelNotely) and federal MP Michelle Rempel (@MichelleRempel).

Kenney currently trails only Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi (@Nenshi) and Edmonton mayor Don Iveson (@doniveson) in terms of Twitter followers amongst active politicians in the province. Overall, he is one of only 11 active Canadian politicians with more than 100,000 Twitter followers.

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Conducting a search of the #pcaa hashtag and the @PC_Alberta account on Twitter tells an interesting story of the moments in the leadership campaign that drove the largest volume of Twitter conversation.

Here is a snapshot of the dates in the last six months (August 28, 2016 to February 28, 2017) that saw the most Tweets that mentioned either #pcaa or @PC_Alberta (including key leadership race developments from those dates):

  1. Saturday, November 5, 2016 - The first day of PC Alberta policy convention in Red Deer
  2. Thursday, November 17, 2016 - Reactions to PC Alberta delegate meeting in Edmonton and former #pcaa leadership candidate Sandra Jansen (@SANDRAYYCNW) joining the Alberta NDP (@albertaNDP)
  3. Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - Reactions to Sandra Jansen and Donna Kennedy-Glans (@dkennedyglans) withdrawing from the leadership race
  4. Thursday, January 19, 2017 - Jason Kenney holds a town hall meeting in Calgary
  5. Friday, January 27, 2017 - Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean (@BrianJeanWRP) releases statement saying members of his party want him to pursue unity with the @PC_Alberta party

Twitter continues to be the pulse of political conversation in Alberta and across Canada. Follow the #pcaa and #abpoli hashtags for the latest look at what’s happening in the @PC_Alberta leadership race and provincial politics in Alberta.

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@jenniferhollett

Jennifer Hollett

‎@jenniferhollett‎

Head of News and Government Partnerships, Twitter Canada