NI has higher percentage of #Leave hashtags than rest of UK

Northern Ireland has the highest proportion of posts in the United Kingdom using ‘Leave’ hashtags, according to ‘social conversation’ analysis from Talkwalker, one of Europe’s biggest providers of advanced social analytics.

The research has developed a new ‘Brexit Dashboard,’ on which users can spotlight shifting social reactions to the Brexit debate and which shows a significant disparity between national polls and what ordinary people are saying and doing online.

Talkwalker CEO Robert Glaesener suggested that one possible outworking of this will be that the trend apparent in opinion polls could be bucked once again, similarly to when the Conservative party won bigger than expected in the Westminster poll last year.

Mr Glaesener said: “In the general election, national polls and social analysis lost out when ‘Shy Conservatives’ held the day.

“Today, national polls favour the ‘Remain; campaign,’ but grassroots voices in favour of leaving the EU outnumber those advocating remain by a margin of 60 per cent to 40 per cent”.

“Hashtags are the modern advocacy, empowering people to express a gut view. They provide real time analysis of people’s intentions and are taken increasingly seriously by big budget brands trying to understand and influence their consumers’ behaviours”.

The research shows that 72.6 per cent of social media conversations in Northern Ireland advocated ‘Leave’ compared with 60.9 per cent in England, 57.3 per cent in Scotland, and 56.3 per cent in Wales.

The analysis covers hashtags included in Brexit related UK posts on all major sites; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, forums and blogs. Across all UK social media, 60.7 per cent of Brexit related conversations and hashtags advocate ‘Leave’ and 39.3 per cent advocate ‘Remain’. The national bias is apparent in every UK region.

It comes as former Labour leader Ed Miliband warns that the absence of millions of young voters from the electoral register could lead to victory for the ‘Leave camp’ and as Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny weighs in on the debate, urging Irish electors in Great Britain to vote for the United Kingdom to ‘Remain’ in the European Union.

Thirty-five per cent of Twitter users were aged 15 - 24 in February 2016, and 26 per cent aged 25 - 34 in November 2015.

In all four home nations, the economy, business and immigration were the most mentioned topics in relation to Brexit and the EU referendum across all social conversations and on line. In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, security was the third biggest issue and in Wales, health care and jobs were of significant interest.

The data were analysed between April 21 and May 20. View the tool here: