May 26, 2018

Twitter predicts UK exit from EU

Twitter predicts UK exit from EU

The majority of people Tweeting about the forthcoming referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU are going to vote “leave”. That’s the surprising finding in a study of more than 350,000 Tweets on the topic.

Of course, you could easily dismiss this research as being superficial and without any controls. Equally, you could say that the “Brexiters” are more likely to Tweet than those who want to remain within the EU.

But you could be wrong.

Twitter sentiment analysis is amazingly accurate. For instance, it is more capable of predicting heart attack mortality than existing medical technologies. Equally, Twitter appears to be more capable of predicting stock market prices than other methods. Twitter can also accurately predict the extent of hurricane damage. Clearly, Twitter is not bad at predictions.

So, the prediction that most people will vote “leave” should not be taken lightly. This new analysis of sentiment on the referendum could be a significant finding.

If you look at the map, the blue areas show where sentiment is highest to remain. Wales, for instance, which has received significant funding from the EU is almost entirely in favour of remaining. Areas heavily affected by immigration, such as Kent and East Anglia (red on the map) are set against the EU and are Tweeting to leave. Read more

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