Donnelly ‘Wins Twitter’ After Leaders’ Debate

Followers accumulated by party leaders after RTE debate

Researchers from the Insight Centre for Data Analytics have been crunching the Twitter numbers as part of their Insight4Elections data analysis project and they found that Stephen Donnelly, leader of the Social Democrats gained a remarkable 1,457 Twitter followers after last night’s leaders’ debate on RTE, about two thirds more than his closest rival Richard Boyd Barrett of People Before Profit who gained 555.

Gerry Adams gathered 308 while the other leaders trailed far behind: Lucinda Creighton (+181 followers), Micheál Martin (+157 followers), Enda Kenny (+125 followers) and Joan Burton (+105 followers).

Donnelly’s relative popularity also translated to his party the Social Democrats who gained over 400 followers in the same period, double that of most of its rival parties.

The deputy leaders’ debate on TV3 inspired less activity overall, but Mary Lou McDonald gained three times as many followers as her closest rival, Labour Deputy Leader Alan Kelly.

Insight4Elections is a publicly available web tool where users can crunch the numbers for themselves.

Who got the approval of the Twitterati last night?

  • Stephen Donnelly – +1457 followers
  • Richard Boyd Barrett: +555 followers
  • Gerry Adams: +308 followers
  • Lucinda Creighton: +181 followers
  • Micheal Martin: +157 followers
  • Enda Kenny: +125 followers
  • Joan Burton: +105 followers

How did the deputy leaders fare?

  • Mary Lou McDonald: +104 followers
  • Alan Kelly: +31 followers
  • Barry Cowen: +10 followers
  • James Reilly: +8 followers

Which parties have people been following in the past 24 hours?

  • Social Democrats: +424 followers
  • Sinn Fein: +165 followers
  • Fianna Fail: +129 followers
  • Green Party: +126 followers
  • Renua: +114 followers
  • Fine Gael: +113 followers
  • Labour: +69 followers
  • People Before Profit: +60 followers

The Insight Centre for Data Analytics is an SFI funded data science research centre. The biggest centre of its kind in Ireland and one of the largest in Europe, Insight has more than 350 researchers who are based in four sites – DCU, NUI Galway, UCC and UCD.

Also, check out this visualisation of the geographical spread of tweets which used the #LeadersDebate hashtag:

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