#GE16: the 25 most-followed General Election 2016 candidates on Twitter

3 Feb 2016

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams TD is currently the most followed Irish politician on Twitter, with twice the number of followers of Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, according to numbers compiled by the Insight Centre for Data Analytics.

Researchers at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics are tracking the Twitter engagement of all candidates in the 2016 General Election.

The researchers’ initial findings reveal that 88pc of declared candidates in General Election 2016, which takes place on Friday 26 February, have a Twitter account.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is the most-followed politician on Twitter, with almost 100,000 followers, followed by Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who has less than half that number. In third place is Independent TD Shane Ross.

In recent weeks, Facebook also revealed key numbers ahead of General Election 2016, indicating the kind of following the various political parties have. Fine Gael has a Facebook page with 13,722 likes, while Sinn Féin’s Facebook page has almost 77,000 likes. The Labour Party has more than 12,000 likes on the social network, while Fianna Fáil has more than 11,400.

Over the coming weeks, researchers at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics will watch the engagement of all General Election candidates, tracking growth in their follower numbers and activity on their Twitter pages.

Using sentiment analysis tools developed by Insight, researchers will track key election issues as they emerge on the social-networking platform.

The Insight4Elections project involves a team of researchers across Insight at University College Dublin and Dublin City University.

Professor Derek Greene and Dr Georgiana Ifrim, lead investigators on the project, are hoping that the research will help voters and social media users to get a bird’s eye view of the general election campaign as it unfolds online.

“The Insight Centre represents a major investment by the Irish taxpayer and, through this project, we hope to demonstrate the value that good data research can bring to the democratic process,” said Dr Ifrim.

The top 25 Irish politicians on Twitter by number of followers:

  1. GerryAdamsSF (Gerry Adams) 99,167 followers
  2. EndaKennyTD (Enda Kenny) 42,065 followers
  3. Shane_RossTD (Shane Ross) 35,723 followers
  4. campaignforleo (Leo Varadkar) 29,792 followers
  5. MaryLouMcDonald (Mary Lou McDonald) 24,761 followers
  6. simoncoveney (Simon Coveney) 21,304 followers
  7. LCreighton (Lucinda Creighton) 20,619 followers
  8. DonnellyStephen (Stephen Donnelly) 19,653 followers
  9. PearseDoherty (Pearse Doherty) 19,554 followers
  10. wallacemick (Mick Wallace) 19,467 followers
  11. AodhanORiordain (Aodhán Ó Ríordáin) 17,321 followers
  12. EamonRyan (Eamon Ryan) 15,749 followers
  13. MichealMartinTD (Micheál Martin) 15,678 followers
  14. CaseyPeterJ (Peter Casey) 14,588 followers
  15. joanburton (Joan Burton) 14,574 followers
  16. ClareDalyTD (Clare Daly) 13,003 followers
  17. FitzgeraldFrncs (Frances Fitzgerald) 12,908 followers
  18. RBoydBarrett (Richard Boyd Barrett) 12,511 followers
  19. CathMurphyTD (Catherine Murphy) 11,896 followers
  20. paulmurphyAAA (Paul Murphy) 11,688 followers
  21. jerrybuttimer (Jerry Buttimer) 11,629 followers
  22. averilpower (Averil Power) 11,101 followers
  23. tonguelash (Aislinn Tongue) 10,822 followers
  24. Paschald (Paschal Donohoe) 10,166 followers
  25. seansherlocktd (Seán Sherlock) 9,830 followers

Leinster House image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years