Social Media Analysis and Public Opinion: The 2010 UK General Election

Nick Anstead, Ben O'Loughlin

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Social media monitoring in politics can be understood by situating it in theories of public opinion. The multimethod study we present here indicates how social media monitoring allow for analysis of social dynamics through which opinions form and shift. Analysis of media coverage from the 2010 UK General Election demonstrates that social media are now being equated with public opinion by political journalists. We use interviews with pollsters, social media researchers and journalists to examine the perceived link between social media and public opinion. In light of competing understandings these interviews reveal, we argue for a broadening of the definition of public opinion to include its social dimension.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204–220
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Issue number2
Early online date30 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


  • Elections
  • Grounded Theory
  • Public Opinion
  • Social Media
  • Twitter
  • United Kingdom

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