Insights

Inside Calgary and Edmonton municipal elections on Twitter

By Jennifer Hollett
Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Alberta residents head to the polls on Monday, October 16 as municipal elections roll out across the province. Mayors, city councillors and school board trustees will be up for vote with Twitter telling the story of the candidates, trends and issues within these campaigns.

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Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi (@Nenshi) is seeking his third term in office. He entered his re-election campaign as Canada’s most-followed mayor on Twitter and our country’s third most-followed sitting politician after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) and Toronto city councillor Norm Kelly (@norm).

Meanwhile in Edmonton, Mayor Don Iveson (@doniveson) will be also seeking re-election and his second term in office. Mayor Iveson is Canada’s fourth most followed mayor and with more than 140,000 Twitter followers. Iveson has a larger Twitter audience than other prominent Alberta politicians including Premier Rachel Notley (@RachelNotley) and United Conservative Party leadership candidate Jason Kenney (@jkenney).

Entering October 2017, these were Canada’s five most-followed mayors on Twitter:

  1. Naheed Nenshi (@Nenshi), Calgary
  2. Denis Coderre (@DenisCoderre), Montreal
  3. John Tory, (@JohnTory), Toronto
  4. Don Iveson (@doniveson), Edmonton
  5. Jim Watson (@JimWatsonOttawa), Ottawa

Elsewhere in the province, mayors are seeking re-election in centres including Lethbridge (@Spearmac) and Red Deer (@TaraVeer). Twitter is home to province-wide conversations about these and other local elections as Albertans have their say in the lead-up to October 16th.

#WhatsHappening in Calgary

While Naheed Nenshi has long been known as “the Twitter mayor” in Calgary and other parts of the planet, a bevy of candidates are actively vying for his spot at Calgary City Hall.

 

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Certain polls suggest that Bill Smith (@TeamBillSmith) may be the overall frontrunner as Election Day approaches while other candidates, such as veteran city councillor Andre Chabot (@chabot4calgary), are also active in the #YYCvote conversation.

Aside from Nenshi, this is how the other #YYCvote mayoral hopefuls rank in terms of Twitter mentions over the past six months:

  1. Bill Smith (@TeamBillSmith)
  2. Larry Heather (@CalgarySenate)
  3. Andre Chabot (@chabot4calgary)
  4. Curtis Olson (@curtisinyyc)
  5. Emile Gabriel (@Gabriel4Mayor)

Follower growth on Twitter has also broadened the voice of these candidates. For example, Smith created his campaign account in June 2017. In the past two months, he has seen a surge in audience and now has more than 6x as many followers as he did on August 1, 2017. By comparison, Chabot has 4.8x more followers since that date while Heather has 1.4x more followers over the same stretch.

Two key hashtags during the Calgary mayoral campaign have been #yycvote (for the election itself) and #yyccc (conversations about the Calgary city council).

 

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Conversations featuring the #yycvote hashtag peaked on October 8, 2017 with voters reacting to the latest polls from Mainstreet Research (@MainStResearch) and conversations within Calgary’s 14 Wards heating up.

From October 1-8, 2017 alone, the mentions of #yycvote on Twitter had already exceeded total mentions for the last three weeks of September, showing that conversations and discussions are spiking as campaigns hit the home stretch.

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In terms of the #yyccc conversation on Twitter, over the past six months, these were the three top dates in terms of conversation around this hashtag and the corresponding topics (and election issues) most heavily discussed on those dates:

  1. September 13, 2017 - Calgary city council approves the release of negotiation details between the city and the Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) on a new arena deal
  2. May 15, 2017 - Calgary City council approves first phase of new Green Line LRT (#GreenLineYYC)
  3. October 2, 2017 - Calgary Chamber of Commerce candidates town hall

#WhatsHappening in Edmonton

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As the strong front runner, all signs point towards Don Iveson winning a second term as the mayor of Edmonton. The Twitter conversation reflects this though residents are still actively discussing the other candidates and top issues that may have influence on Election Day.

Aside from Iveson, these are the three Edmonton mayoral candidates who have received the most Twitter account mentions since August 1, 2017:

  1. Fahad Mughal (@fahadmoghal)
  2. Bob Ligertwood (@BobLigertwood)
  3. Taz Bouchier (@MsBouchier)
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Edmonton residents have been Tweeting and following the #yegvote hashtag to keep tabs on the mayoral race locally. September 26, 2017 has the largest single day volume of Tweets featuring the hashtag. This was the day of the first mayoral forum at the Shaw Convention Centre.

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More broadly, #yegcc is one of the key political hashtags for discussing local politics in Edmonton, it having seen a spike in Twitter usage in recent weeks. For example, there were more than twice as many Tweets that mentioned #yegcc in September 2017 when compared to August 2017.

When you look at the past six months, these were the three top dates in terms of conversation around this hashtag and the corresponding topics most heavily discussed on those dates:

  1. September 13, 2017 - Edmonton city councillors unanimously approve a plan to shutter the Northlands Coliseum
  2. April 26, 2017 - Edmonton city council votes in favour of the 80-storey Alldritt Tower
  3. May 30, 2017 - Edmonton city council votes against re-adopting the “City of Champions” slogan for the city

 

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Keep tabs on Twitter before, during and after Election Day in Alberta for the latest content and commentary on local politics in Canada’s 4th largest province.

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@jenniferhollett

Jennifer Hollett

‎@jenniferhollett‎

Head of News and Government Partnerships, Twitter Canada