Insights

Inside the NDP leadership race on Twitter

By Jennifer Hollett
Saturday, 16 September 2017

The New Democratic Party (@NDP and @NPD_QG) will be selecting its new federal leader in the coming weeks. The discussion and discourse has been heating up on Twitter as we hit the home stretch of the leadership race.

For Canadians following the discussion, a new NDP emoji has launched that will be live on Twitter for the remainder of the leadership race. Users can Tweet either #ndpldr or #npdldr to unlock the emoji and add colour to their Tweets.

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In recent years, Twitter has launched dozens of emojis worldwide for key hashtags around elections, debates and political discourse. Here in Canada, past Twitter emojis have been launched for the 2017 provincial election in British Columbia (#BCVotes) and the 2017 Conservative Party of Canada leadership race (#CPCldr).

The candidates

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These four candidates will be appearing on the ballot, with all regularly using Twitter to connect with Canadians and @NDP voters:

  • Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh)
  • Niki Ashton (@nikiashton)
  • Charlie Angus (@CharlieAngusNDP)
  • Guy Caron (@GuyCaronNPD)

Singh has the largest Twitter following of the four, based on data compiled on September 14, 2017. In total, Singh has 2.2x more followers than the second-ranked Ashton and 1.2x more followers than Ashton, Angus and Caron combined.

Singh has also gained the most new Twitter followers during the race. Since June 2016, Singh has gained more than 31,000 new followers. For comparison, Ashton has gained 10,500 new followers during that span while Angus and Caron have gained 8,200 and 3,000, respectively.

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In early September, Singh trended worldwide after a video of him responding to racist heckling went viral across the globe. In terms of scale, the single video Tweet shown above has been viewed on Twitter more than 7.3 million times. Furthermore, 90% of Singh’s Twitter mentions for the month of September 2017 took place between September 8-10 as the video trended heavily.

Singh’s Twitter following also increased by 20% within a week of the incident as he gained more than 14,000 new Twitter followers over the course of seven days.

Overall, Singh’s famous followers including Internet superstar Lilly Singh (@IISuperwomanII), actor Barbara Hershey (@BarbaraHershey8) and British boxing champion Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan).

Nikki Ashton also has a bevy of unique famous followers including activist and author Erin Brockovich (@ErinBrockovich), comedian Margaret Cho (@margaretcho), MSNBC host Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) and musician Jann Arden (@jannarden). As for Charlie Angus, he doubles as a musician and accordingly, has a number of famous followers from within the Canadian music industry. That list includes Susan Aglukark (@S_Aglukark), Ron Sexsmith (@RonSexsmith) and Scott Helman (@ScottHelman) plus bands such as Dear Rouge (@DearRouge) and July Talk (@julytalk).

The conversation

The NDP leadership nomination period opened on June 2, 2016 and since that time, the leadership race has enjoyed waves of discussion on Twitter, often sparked by candidates entering (or leaving the race) and key milestone events such as debates.

There have been nine leadership debates during the race with the March 12, 2017 debate in Ottawa driving the most conversation on Twitter, followed by the August 2 debate in Victoria and the July 11 debate in St. John’s.

In terms of key political issues, the conversation surrounding labour and jobs is the one being discussed most often on Twitter, based on all Tweets sent that mention the #ndpldr hashtag since June 2016. Here are the five top political issues being discussed within the #ndpldr conversation on Twitter.

  1. Labour and jobs
  2. Families and childcare
  3. Indigenous issues
  4. Women’s rights and equality
  5. Taxes
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#ndpldr voting will commence on September 18th. Be sure to stay close on Twitter to see the candidates, topics and trends that will help shape the @NDP conversation in the months and years to come.

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@jenniferhollett

Jennifer Hollett

‎@jenniferhollett‎

Head of News and Government Partnerships, Twitter Canada

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