Sentiment and the UK elections

  2 m, 41 s

Following on from doing live Twitter analysis of Thursday nights UK Election debate, I thought it might be interesting to see how what the leaders were actually saying scored, and more importantly, what words and language they were using to make the point. So I downloaded the debate transcript from the BBC, extracted the text and broke it up into approx 5500 chunks where each chunk was a separate speaker. So the following text:

NICK CLEGG: I believe the way things are is not the way things have to be. You’re going to be told tonight by these two that the only choice you can make is between two old parties who’ve been running things for years. I’m here to persuade you that there is an alternative. I think we have a fantastic opportunity to do things differently for once. If we do things differently, we can create the fair society, the fair country we all want: a fair tax system, better schools, an economy no longer held hostage by greedy bankers, decent, open politics. Those are the changes I believe in. I really wouldn’t be standing here tonight if I didn’t think they were all possible. So don’t let anyone tell you that the only choice is old politics. We can do something new; we can do something different this time. That’s what I’m about; that’s what the Liberal Democrats offer.

GORDON BROWN: These are no ordinary times, and this is no ordinary election. We’ve just been going through the biggest global financial crisis in our lives, and we’re moving from recession to recovery, and I believe we’re moving on a road to prosperity for all. Now, every promise you hear from each of us this evening depends on one thing: a strong economy. And this is the defining year. Get the decisions right now, and we can have secure jobs, we can have standards of living rising, and we can have everybody better off. Get the decisions wrong now, and we could have a double-dip recession. And because we believe in fairness, as we cut the deficit, over these next few years, we will protect your police, your National Health Service, and we will protect your schools. I know what this job involves; I look forward to putting my plan to you this evening.

would have been broken into 2 distinct chunks, and each chunk would be assigned to the correct speaker – in this case Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown. I then ran each chunk through the Lexalytics Salience Engine, getting the overall sentiment for the text chunk, as well as the sentiment scoring phrases that were used. I was then able to aggregate these and produce some spiffy looking sentiment tagclouds:




These are actually very interesting as they show for example, that whilst David Cameron used the same number of negative terms that Nick Clegg did, he used them a lot more. Take a look at “difficult” and “problem / problems” in the cloud – perhaps to emphasis his ‘broken Britain’ theme that he was trying to get across, whilst the most used word by Gordon Brown was “health”. “Trust” and “truth” are also important to all of them, hardly surprising given the recent expenses scandal.

Categories: Events, Natural Language Processing, Sentiment Analysis