How Data is Being Utilised in the General Election

Data is key when it comes to monitoring and analysing activity, and in the run-up to the General Election there is even more prominence on overseeing how the public are talking about the main parties and leaders.
We’ve seen a few clever tools pop up over the past few weeks as we near towards 7th May, driven by data and tapping into intellectual technologies to offer insights on the public mood when it comes to opinions and topics being discussed. Check out the top four that have caught our eye from The Telegraph, Sky News and Brandwatch.


With breaking news surrounding one of the closest election battles in years being constantly updated, it makes sense for a more immediate, real-time social platform like WhatsApp to be utilised as a channel.
This is exactly what The Telegraph has acknowledged, spurring them to create a politics service on the cross-platform mobile messaging app, which allows users to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. Thus those interested in the most up-to-date news of the election will receive updates from the politics team, straight to their phone.
We applaud the broadsheet newspaper for introducing this feature to ensure users don’t miss a thing, bringing them breaking election news alerts and a daily round-up of events. If it keeps politics in the minds of many in the run-up to the elections and even sways users’ votes, it will be fascinating to find out whether this service plays a part.


‘Track how the major parties are faring in the latest opinion polls with the Sky News poll of polls, which averages all the latest polls to get the overall picture.’

This online tool from Sky News offers insightful information on how parties are battling it out over time as we get closer to the grand finale of the UK election. Allowing users to hover over each line to pinpoint the date and percentage of votes, it is worth considering what media happenings or announcements were going on at the time to affect the changes in votes.
At The Media Octopus we’ll be checking this clever, data-driven feature most days in the run-up to May 7th 2015 and see just how accurate Sky’s tool has documented this campaign to win between the parties.


We recently took an in-depth look at how this year’s elections could be the first truly ‘social election’ in history, with the battle between the parties being fought out on the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
That’s why we think these live and interactive real-time graphics, another nifty offering from Sky News powered by Vigiglobe, offer a very insightful glance across Facebook and Twitter:

  • Trend Graph: Which party is dominating discussion
  • Summary Graph: Election related posts sent
  • Leaders Head-to-Head: Social sentiment towards party leaders

sky-trend-graph sky-trend-graph2

From these data-driven stats we can gauge the public mood in the online world when it comes to talk and discussion in real-time; another tool we’ll be analysing daily as May 7th comes closer.


The leaders’ debates are a key focal point in the 2015 UK General Election campaign, although it can be hard to determine who ‘won’. In line with talks around it being the first truly social election and similar to Sky News’ Social Election tool, this is where Brandwatch’s General Election Buzz Board comes into play.

From analysing responses of thousands of voters as they post on social media, this board tracks the public mood of the election every day, and in particular, during the key televised debates. Insights gathered from these graphs offer answers to key questions:

  • Which party is social talking about?
  • What topics are important?
  • Which leader is social talking about?

It would be interesting to see how these match up to that of Sky’s findings, to gain an even deeper understanding of how the social electorate is talking and feeling about the main parties, the key players and which issues are deemed to be important.

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