Unless you live in Islington North or frequented the hard left gatherings within Labour Party conferences, then the chances are that you won’t have heard of Jeremy Corbyn until very recently.
Elected as leader of the Labour Party, in somewhat unlikely circumstances, Corbyn has sent a shockwave throughout the British political establishment, taking 59.5%% of the vote and vowing to lead a Labour fightback.
His rise to the Labour leadership has been as swift as it has unlikely. To be placed on the ballot, potential candidates required 35 votes. Corbyn managed 36 votes from the party and was a 200/1 outsider for the position. So how has he come to be elected and were there any signs of his campaign gathering momentum?
As a Digital PR agency, our data analysts routinely monitor social media and Google search data to interpret trends and public awareness of key events – the Labour leadership election was one such event.
Over the last year, the number of mentions of Jeremy Corbyn have spiked massively as the graphs below illustrate. Throughout the tail end of 2014, and for much of 2015, his name was rarely mentioned at all on Twitter. Since Corbyn entered the race to succeed Ed Miliband on June 3rd, interest in him started to increase.
Mentions of Jeremy Corbyn per day (UK Wide)
Mentions of Jeremy Corbyn vs Other Leadership Candidates per day (UK Wide)
Mentions of Jeremy Corbyn vs Other Leadership Candidates per day (Scotland only)
As those who followed the referendum campaign know, social media isn’t entirely trustworthy in terms of voting intentions, but it does show how many people are talking about a particular individual. With over 130,000 tweets a day mentioning Corbyn across the UK (over 30,000 in Scotland) it’s clear he was being talked about. As a further comparison, we can look at how his mentions compare to his direct rivals for the Labour party leadership, in the UK and in Scotland.
By comparison, mentions of Labour’s leader in Scotland are much lower with only slightly over 4,000 tweets a day mentioning Kezia Dugdale.
This doesn’t mean that voters in Scotland are necessarily more aware of Corbyn than Dugdale, simply that the former is making the news at the moment.
What this means is harder to quantify. The policy decisions and platform Corbyn sets out will define him and his party’s direction, and the mood of discussion on social media and beyond. For now, he’s certainly caught the attention of the digital commentators and as his media strategy plays out, his social media strengths may help overcome his seeming lack of willingness to engage with traditional media.