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2012-06-16

Greek Election Tomorrow!

The Euro and the European currency union is the major topic of the second Greek parliamentary elections of this Spring, to be carried out tomorrow, on Sunday, June 17.

Ethersource has been reading Greek-language social media for the past few weeks. Our prediction:

  • ND will be leader in number of votes
  • one needs more than tallying frequency of mention or simple assessment of positive vs negative sentiment to use social media for predicting electoral outcomes

 

We at Gavagai have been following party politics in the Greek social media for the past few weeks and have found – as have the major political commentary sites – that the major players are the conservative ND and the socialist coalition Syriza. After gauging frequency of mention in Greek social media one would be likely to conclude that the election is safely in the hands of Syriza. See the graph below. Syriza gains much more attention in the Greek social media sphere than do other parties. (The dramatic spike in attention given to the fascist party XA has to do with one of their representatives demonstrating practical violence in a TV-debate, punching and slapping a political opponent on camera).

But that is not the entire story. Mentions alone do not translate to votes. A further analysis gives pause to the first prediction. The pie chart shows what proportion party mentions are coloured by mistrust and skepticism.

One cannot predict election results by counting mentions alone – the type of mention is important as well. We have previously cut up attitude in many ways, beyond what is done by most. Here we will look at distrust and doubt as an attitude. Skeptical, worried, and doubtful mentions indicate not propensity to vote but concern about the outcome. The tweets, blogs, and forum posts by Greek voters we read are not simply rooting for the author’s favourite party – they are analyses, each in its own way, of the election outcome. By aggregating the sentiment given in each of them we find a clearer picture than we would by simply counting and tabulating mentions.

Our analysis is as follows: Syriza and ND are most frequently mentioned. Syriza mentions carry a considerable amount of concern and mistrust. We assess this to mean that the electorate will gravitate towards ND rather than Syriza at the polling station: the likely leader in votes will be ND.

How ND will be able to put together a governable majority of representatives is another matter!

Category: case studies, sentiment analysis