Political views of Twitter users do not match the wider population, but that matters less than you might think

Matt Singh has spotted and graphed data from the latest British Election Study release showing the gap between the political views of Twitter users in the UK and those of the rest of the population:

Twitter versus non Twitter political views in the UK

Twitter versus non Twitter European views in the UK

The skew is much greater on Twitter than on Facebook, as Matt goes on to point out.

These Twitter findings match GfK research from before the 2017 general election.

One conclusion obviously is to be wary of using opinion on Twitter as a proxy for opinion more widely when it comes to political matters in particular.

However, that does not necessarily mean that trends on Twitter are out of kilter with the wider population. For example, the pattern seen on Twitter of Labour members quitting and joining the Lib Dems over Corbyn’s views on Europe is likely to be higher on Twitter than elsewhere. But that increase in the number of such people on Twitter over the last few weeks may well still indicate that off Twitter the numbers have grown too.

Plus of course, the skew in those on Twitter is actually helpful if that is a skew towards the people you want to reach, especially given how many people are on Twitter. For Liberal Democrats, for example, it means Twitter is a particularly fruitful arena for reaching the sorts of people the party needs to win over to build a long-term durable core vote.

UPDATE: That pattern of Labour leading among Twitter users but behind among voters overall continued in the 2019 general election:


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