The Social Elections

Labour leads in the ‘social elections’ with little cut through for Lib Dems

Harris Interactive UK

London, UK, 7th May 2015: Britain’s political parties and politicians have been falling over themselves to use social media in the run up to the 2015 General Election in efforts to woo voters who might not otherwise engage with the political process.

Social media stories have been emerging on an hourly basis as politicians have moved uncertainly into what is new territory for many but so far there has been no overall view of how the electorate is responding. Harris Interactive decided to use SocialLife, its social media tracker, to investigate the big picture and understand just how successful parties and politicians have been.  Online polling 2,931 GB adults aged 18+, a number of interesting insights emerged.

Social media sites used in last 30 days

Labour Green Party Conservative Lib Dem Ukip
Facebook 83% 80% 80% 85% 82%
Twitter 41% 39% 34% 30% 28%
Instagram 16% 20% 17% 9% 13%
Snapchat 11% 15% 12% 9% 7%


The majority of voters – young and old – use Facebook nowadays so this platform does not offer any differentiation.  However Labour and Green Party supporters are more active than their Tory, Lib Dem and Ukip counterparts on lesser-used sites like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.  This finding aligns with the younger average age profile of Green Party and Labour supporters (36 and 40 years respectively) compared with Ukip (45) and Conservative (44) supporters in particular.

Frequency of checking social media status

Labour Green Party Conservative Lib Dem Ukip
Constantly 23% 14% 17% 10% 15%
About 10 times a day 8% 11% 7% 10% 7%
Less often 69% 75% 76% 80% 78%


Labour supporters are also most active on social media generally with almost a quarter (23%) checking their social media status constantly throughout the day compared with just one in ten Lib Dem voters.

Political parties followed on social media

Labour Green Party Conservative Lib Dem Ukip
Labour 26% 6% 6% 5% 3%
Green Party 3% 23% 2% 4% 2%
Conservative 3% 5% 19% 2% 5%
Lib Dem 3% 5% 4% 13% 3%
Ukip 1% 2% 2% 0% 24%


Those intending to vote Labour are twice as likely to follow the party on social media (26%) as Lib Dem supporters are to follow their choice of election party (13%).  In fact, Lib Dem supporters rank lowest on this measure by a clear margin with almost a quarter of Ukip and Green Party supporters following their political party of choice.

Followed on social media

Labour Green Party Conservative Lib Dem Ukip
Any political party 27% 30% 21% 17% 26%
Any sports teams 58% 44% 50% 55% 44%
Any politician 14% 16% 14% 10% 11%
Any celebrity 59% 53% 50% 56% 45%


Without any context, these ‘follow’ figures for political parties might indicate a high level of engagement with the political process.  But some simple benchmarking gives the lie to this and in fact the social media using public are much more likely to follow sports teams than political parties and celebrities than politicians – as highlighted very clearly in the table above.

Politicians followed on social media

Labour Green Party Conservative Lib Dem Ukip
Ed Miliband 34% 1% 7% 0% 6%
Natalie Bennet 1% 9% 0% 0% 0%
Caroline Lucas 1% 15% 0% 0% 0%
David Cameron 13% 1% 49% 29% 20%
Boris Johnson 3% 13% 10% 10% 7%
Nick Clegg 1% 1% 3% 5% 5%
Nigel Farage 0% 0% 3% 0% 73%


The Nigel Farage effect is very apparent in this final table which looks at which individual politicians are followed by party supporters (who follow any politicians). Farage (73%) is comfortably ahead of David Cameron (49%) with a further significant gap to Ed Miliband (39%). Nick Clegg (5%) is the least popular party leader when it comes to social media followers and former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas is slightly more popular among Green supporters than her replacement Natalie Bennet.



Interviews were conducted online by Harris Interactive amongst 2,931 GB adults aged 18+ between 30 March and 16th April 2015.

About Harris Interactive Europe
Harris Interactive Europe (comprising Harris Interactive UK Ltd, Harris Interactive SAS in France, and Harris Interactive AG in Germany) is a full service, consultative custom market research agency. Working internationally from our offices, our activities span both business-to-business and consumer markets, specialising in: automotive; consumer packaged goods; energy; entertainment; financial services; healthcare; media; technology; telecoms; and travel.


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