Insights

Inside the Conservative Party of Canada leadership race on Twitter

By Jennifer Hollett

The Conservative Party of Canada (@CPC_HQ) will select a new party leader during their Leadership Conference, scheduled for May 27-28, 2017 in Toronto. 13 candidates will be on the ballot and the past 12 months have seen a broad range of Conservative leadership (#cpcldr) discussions and debates on Twitter.

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Healthcare, taxes and employment are the top three election issues within the #cpcldr conversation on Twitter, ranked by number of mentions. These topics and the party frontrunners have dominated the discussion on Twitter in recent months.

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The #cpcldr and #chefpcc hashtag has also unlocked a custom emoji, added extra colour to the conversation.

Polls suggest that Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier) will enter the Conference as the frontrunner but on Twitter, he is only the third most followed candidate, trailing both Kellie Leitch (@KellieLeitch) and Lisa Raitt (@lraitt).

These are the five most followed #cpcldr hopefuls heading into the Conference:

  1. Kellie Leitch (@KellieLeitch)
  2. Lisa Raitt (@lraitt)
  3. Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier)
  4. Andrew Scheer (@andrewscheer)
  5. Erin O’Toole (@ErinOTooleMP)

With more than 20,500 new Twitter followers since the May 2016 Conservative Party national policy convention in Vancouver, Bernier has gained the most new Twitter followers of all hopefuls. During that time, Raitt gained 20,400 new followers and Leitch gained 18,500 new followers.

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In the past 12 months, Bernier has also been the most mentioned candidate on Twitter, narrowly edging out Leitch for total mentions during this time period. As the campaign progressed, Bernier began to own a larger share of the #cpcldr conversation. From 3/1/2017 onwards, Bernier has had more than twice as many Twitter mentions as Leitch and overall, more mentions than Leitch, Raitt, Scheer and O’Toole combined. Time will tell if this success on Twitter will translate into success at the ballot box.

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The past 12 months has also seen many moments that spiked the #cpcldr conversation on Twitter, fueled by policy discussions, debates and key candidates both entering (or leaving) the race. The largest share of those Tweets came from Ontario (63%) followed by Alberta (14%) and British Columbia (9%).

Here are the five dates in recent months that saw the highest volume of Tweets featuring the #cpcldr hashtag:

  1. 2/28/2017: Bilingual #cpcldr debate in Edmonton, AB
  2. 1/18/2017: Ex-candidate Kevin O’Leary (@kevinolearytv) announces that he is officially joining the #cpcldr race
  3. 4/26/2017: Kevin O’Leary announces that he is leaving the #cpcldr race, endorsing Maxime Bernier in the process
  4. 2/4/2017: #cpcldr debate in Halifax, BS (this was the first debate to feature Kevin O’Leary)
  5. 12/16/2016: Bilingual #cpcldr debate in Moncton, NB
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Keep tabs on Twitter and the #cpcldr hashtag during the Conservative Leadership Conference this weekend for all the latest news, opinions and punditry as the Conservatives select their new party leader.

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@jenniferhollett

Jennifer Hollett

‎@jenniferhollett‎

Head of News and Government Partnerships, Twitter Canada