You might’ve missed it as it’s barely been talked about(…), but today is the polling day for the UK General Election. This means a number of different election-based hashtags have cropped up on the top trending bar today. These are the most used in order: 1. IVoted 2. Dogsatpollingstations 3. GE2015 4. UKelection2015 As fun as a curation of the best dog photos outside polling stations would’ve been, I decided to have a look at the most commonly occurring phrases attached to #IVoted for two reasons. Firstly, it was by far and away the election hashtag with the most reach today. At the time of publishing #IVoted had been posted by users over 102,000 times. Twitter was so impressed with it’s traction that they did their own visualisation to show peak vote-bragging times. Second, some interesting variations on the Twitter-promoted topic were cropping up on my feed. I wanted to know which voters were most vocal about their decisions today. Unsurprisingly, Labour features prominently in today’s tweets. Despite reports that this yearwill be even closer than the 2010 elections, voter turnout looks stronger than ever. Betting agent Ladbrokes has paid off bets estimating less than a 70% turnount. Web-savvy millenials are gearing up to lock horns with conservative incumbents. “Labour”, “Miliband”, and “NHS” were some of the most mentioned phrases. Interestingly, however, the Twitter battle was not against the Tories, but UKIP. Phrases such as “VoteUKIP”, “SouthThanet”, “NigelFarage” and “pint” were getting equal attention from Twitter users. This could mean a number of things. For one, we know that UKIP have been working on their social media strategy since the MEP elections last year. We also know that UKIP have been targeting rural Labour constituencies. From the other phrases cropping up (“pot”, “age”, “young”) we can guess that the Twitter users most actively engaging with this hashtag fall into the millennial category. Data reporter at the Telegraph Jonathan Frayman believes that despite their average age being significantly higher than the Labour voter, UKIP are a naturally vocal party: “UKIP have a very active Twitter presence on their own, it suits their party’s persona. They’re opinionated, they have controversial and they have a very strong sense of pride in their party membership.” Indeed, many UKIP supporters used the hashtag to point towards their own voting preference.
— Rocking Philosophy (@RockingMrE) May 7, 2015
Many young voters seemed to feel like their post to Twitter was as much a part of the election as the vote itself. Nicola Slawson, a results taker at Press Association, said: “I think it’s really important to encourage and remind people to vote. I decided to tweet for that reason and also because I’m proud that I live in a country where I can vote.” The democratic process was a big part of the agenda with #IVoted. “Everyone”, “democracy”, and in particular “women” featured highly with all hashtag users.