Almost 500,000 tweets analysed during last night’s head to head in the ‘Battle For Number 10’ live TV debates showed Miliband netted more support than Cameron – Oxford University researchers concluded.
Professors from the university’s Computer Science department crafted a software system called TheySay – which breaks down Twitter messages revealing what peoples’ opinions are on social media.
They found Labour leader Ed Miliband got 52 per cent of positive feeling compared to Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s 47 per cent – out of 495,760 tweets on the topic.
The tweets were analysed during the first live election debate by the two frontrunners for the job of Prime Minister ahead of decision day on May 7.
Oxford University’s Dr Karo Moilanen, co-founder of TheySay, said: “Both candidates generated a gigantic volume of negative sentiment overall.
“In general, Miliband’s signals were more volatile than those for Cameron.
“Miliband’s sentiment profile is more jagged – a sign of more extreme polarisation.
“Given that doubt, anger, agitation, and fear all increased towards the end around Miliband, his passionate plea was highly highly emotional.”
He added: “Miliband’s impressive performance generated more traffic than Cameron’s first round.”
Twitter users posted 210,864 tweets about Cameron and 284,896 about Miliband.
The data was analysed in real time as Sky News and Channel 4’s The Battle for Number 10 was aired from 8.45pm to 10.45pm.
The software breaks down the text into its basic grammatical parts to understand the relationship of words to each other as a human would.
It means the technology can pinpoint sentiment, emotion, sarcasm and political opinion – to gauge general feeling, political shifts and economic mood.