It was bound to happen, eventually: The economy has now taken centre stage in Canadian election-related Twitter chatter.
The incumbent Conservative government has been pushing its economic record and reputation, while opposition parties have criticized the government of both skewing economic figures in their favour and wasteful spending.
Since the beginning of August, the words “economy”, “jobs” and “recession” appeared in a total of almost 44,000 tweets mentioning a major party or leader — or roughly 20 per cent of all tweets, making these three words the most mentioned in all party and leader tweets in August and September thus far.
“Recession” as a single keyword appeared in over 11,000 tweets mentioning the parties and leaders.
Mentions of financial issues have jumped lately, mostly thanks to recent news reports of the Canadian economy sliding into recession.
There was also negative coverage for the government regarding a study that looked into the Conservatives’ economic performance, which helped spur the significant spike in Twitter mentions around August 5 as the study was seized upon by opposition parties.
The country’s stagnating employment numbers were immediately seized upon by all four major parties, but it was the Conservatives and Liberals that paid them the most social media attention: the Conservatives focused on absolute job numbers, while the Liberals took the opportunity to release their own economic platform.
— Pierre Poilievre (@PierrePoilievre) September 4, 2015
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s handle was mentioned over 9,000 times in connection with economic issues, with the two top-mentioned Twitter links were both Liberal Party ads posted by Trudeau and combining for around 1,000 mentions:
Stephen Harper won’t even say the word. But I have a plan to kickstart the economy and get us out of this recession. https://t.co/ok3ALyYgQV
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 1, 2015
A final observation: the word “failed” appeared more than 1,600 times in tweets about the economy, as both the Liberals and NDP deployed it in social media posts to campaign against the government’s economic record.
— NDP_HQ (@NDP_HQ) August 25, 2015
As we get closer to election day and further financial data is released, it will be interesting to watch how all federal parties approach these economic issues from both policy and communications standpoints.