UK Election 2010: Sitting on the Fence for a Fortnight

The UK Election officially kicked off last week. And according to Renard Sexton’s post in the Guardian, “A surprisingly large number of voters are still undecided.” And it may be a fortnight before the fence-sitters, who have their mug on one side of the fence and their wump on the other, start shifting one way or another.

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According to Sexton, “In a race this close, the outcome of the election will be determined not by which party secures the most voters over the coming month, but which can sway a crucial set of voters in the next two weeks.”

Since undecided voters are “largely ambivalent” about Labour’s Gordon Brown, the Conservative’s David Cameron, and the Liberal Democrats’ Nick Clegg, “it will be a matter of momentum that pushes these voters one way or another,” he adds.

“As a result, it will likely be the first movers among this cluster of voters that, barring dramatic scandal or event, will determine the election,” he concludes.

If this is the case, then social media may offer an early indication of who has the momentum.

On April 6, I provided a benchmark on how many Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and YouTube views each of the three parties had on the day it was announced that the UK General Election would be held May 6, 2010. I took a look yesterday afternoon to get an update on what had transpired during the first five days of the campaign.

The Labour Party’s Facebook fans jumped from 10,998 to 16,702. UK Labour’s Twitter followers increased from 12,144 to 13,462. And total upload views on theuklabourparty’s channel on YouTube increased from 1,117,786 to 1,126,804.

The Conservatives’ Facebook fans jumped from 30,824 to 37,181. The Conservatives’ Twitter followers increased from 22,813 to 25,029. And total upload views on webcameronuk’s channel on YouTube jumped from 1,117,786 to 1,126,804.

The Liberal Democrats’ Facebook fans jumped from 11,167 to 15,231. The LibDems‘ Twitter followers increased from 10,345 to 11,657. And the channel views on LibDem’s channel on YouTube increased from 94,834 to 97,467.

In other words, all three parties are all doing well on Facebook and Twitter. But Conservatives are doing significantly better than the other two parties on YouTube. In fact, webcameronuk’s channel was the #33 most viewed last week in the United Kingdom.

If you look at the most viewed YouTube videos in the News & Politics category for the past week, the #1 video with 72,628 views is “David Cameron rallies staff and supporters as Election 2010 is announced.”

And the #5 video with 22,157 views is “Websamcameron: Samantha Cameron hits the campaign trail.”

In contrast, the most viewed LibDem’s video with 2,053 views is “Nick Clegg: Election 2010 Kick Off Speech at LDHQ.”

However, the “Labservatives” campaign, done deliberately tongue in cheek, show that the LibDems may be fighting this campaign on a whole other front. Check out the “Labservative General Election Manifesto,” which 27,247 views.

The most viewed Labour video with only 988 views is “The Cabinet take to the phones.”

Maybe this explains why there is also tonyblair4labour’s channel on YouTube. It’s most viewed video, with 2,018 views, is “Tony Blair puts the case for a 4th term Labour government.”

So, if you only look at the YouTube results, the Conservatives seem to have the early momentum in the 2010 UK general election — or the “Big Mo” as George H. W. Bush called it in the 1980 presidential election. Of course, momentum can shift.

However, webcameronuk’s channel was getting 118,532 upload views on YouTube over the past five days, while theuklabour’s channel was getting 9,018 and libdem’s channel was getting 2,633.

If the fence-sitters get off the fence a fortnight from now, then I think it’s pretty clear which way their mug will be heading. We’ll see if their wump follows.

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