We stand with Ukraine

Expert System and the University of Aberdeen find that 64.75% of tweets from Britain are inclined to leave the European Union

22 June 2016

More than 55,000 tweets analysed to discover the main topics and trends discussed on social media regarding “Brexit/Bremain” campaign

Expert System (EXSY.MI), the leader in cognitive technology for the effective management of unstructured information, in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen, announced its findings from the recent analysis of the most discussed Brexit/Bremain topics on Twitter. The project, developed using Expert System’s Cogito cognitive technology, was carried out during the second/third week of June (from June 7 to 15). Moreover, the project has involved a sample of 5,000 tweets collected from June 20 to June 21, with the aim to highlight any difference among trends and topics of the first period of the analysis and the days closer to the date of the EU referendum. The analysis was focused on the four countries of the United Kingdom. The project involved the multinational effort of several researchers from the company’s branches in Modena, Italy, Madrid and Barcelona, Spain.

The analysis developed by Expert System and the University of Aberdeen provides, among other variables, the users’ voting intentions. In this regard, 64.75% of tweets from Britain are inclined to leave the European Union. This percentage is particularly high among tweets from England (69% June 7 and June 15, and 77% between June 20 and June 21) and Scotland (67% during the first period, 58% during the second period), while 40% of tweets from Northern Ireland and Wales prefer to remain in the EU (35% in Northern Ireland and 23% in Wales, if we consider the sample of tweets posted online between June 20 and June 21). The difference between these results and current UK polls, where both options seem closer, can be explained by the fact that voters who prefer to leave the EU are more active on Twitter.

According to the report, jobs, immigration, and government issues are the most discussed topics in all four countries as they were included in 16.26%, 14.87% and 14.63% of all tweets analyzed, respectively. On the other hand, taxes (3.72%), pensions (2.46%), and security (1.99%) have played a marginal role in the debate, while references about inflation (0.05%) are almost non-existent. While immigration has been the focus of the debate in England (16.76%), the report also shows peaks of discussion about the NHS (12.80%) in England. In Scotland, jobs have led the debate (20.30%), followed by immigration (19.98%) and government issues (19.03%). Meanwhile, users in Northern Ireland are the only ones who have significantly discussed the borders (22%). Similarly, Wales is the only country where the currency (20.21%) has played a prominent role in the debate.

Finally, it is worth mentioning the high influence that media had on the topics discussed in social networks. As an example, the NHS became trending topic the day after the broadcast of the EU debate in which the impact of Brexit for the National Health Service was discussed.

Download the report here.