Yesterday, the guardian.co.uk general election 2010: poll of polls showed the Conservatives with 34 percent (down more than 5 points from the previous Sunday), Labour with over 28 percent (down less than 3 points from the previous Sunday), and the Liberal Democrats with 27 percent (up more than 8 points from the previous Sunday). In other words, UK Election 2010 is a three horse race.
Image via Wikipedia
Now, it was supposed to be a two horse race.
But, Nick Clegg's remarkable success in the first British televised leaders' debate is responsible for the Lib Dem surge. About 9.4 million Brits watched 90 minutes of politics on ITV without an ad break. And another 117,026 viewers watched the 94-minute video of The First Election Debate on ITV1: 15th April 2010 on ITV1's YouTube channel.
Did the debate on TV have a measurable impact on digital media?
If you use Google Insights for Search to look at web search interest in the United Kingdom for Gordon Brown, Nick Cegg, and David Cameron over the past 7 days, you'll see web search interest in Clegg surged past his two opponents on Thursday, April 15, and Friday, April 16.
If you compare how many Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and YouTube views each of the three parties had a week ago on Sunday, April 11, and how many they had yesterday, April 18, here's what you'll see:
- The Labour Party's Facebook fans increased from 16,702 to 24,205 in the past week. UK Labour's Twitter followers increased from 13,462 to 14,693. And total upload views on theuklabourparty's channel on YouTube jumped dramatically from 1,126,804 to 1,247,495. In fact, the channel was the #33 Most Viewed this past week in the United Kingdom.
- The Conservatives' Facebook fans jumped from 37,181 to 48,525 in the past week. The Conservatives' Twitter followers increased from 25,029 to 27,186. And total upload views on webcameronuk's channel on YouTube jumped dramatically from 1,126,804 to 1,885,421. In fact, the channel was the #41 Most Viewed this past week in the Directors category in the United Kingdom.
- The Liberal Democrats' Facebook fans jumped from 15,231 to 36,822 in the past week. The LibDems' Twitter followers increased from 11,657 to 14,651. And the channel views on LibDem's channel on YouTube jumped from 97,467 to 109,026.
In other words, there's been an impact, but not as large a one as we've seen in the polls. So, maybe the post-debate bump for the LibDems will fade. Then again, there hasn't been a serious three-way race in British elections for a long, long time.
So, let's continue watching as the three parties continue the 2010 steeplechase over the next two-and-a-half weeks.