Environment top for Edinburgh Facebook users

The analysis takes in Edinburgh Facebook users' topics. Picture: PA
The analysis takes in Edinburgh Facebook users' topics. Picture: PA
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DAVID Cameron wants the general election to be about the economy, while Ed Miliband is focusing on the health service and the SNP talks about holding the balance of power.

But according to an analysis of Facebook traffic, voters in Edinburgh are more concerned about the environment than any other issue in the election.

South of the Border, health was the most popular topic for discussion on the social media site, followed by the economy, tax, Europe and immigration.

But in Scotland, the environment was top in almost two-thirds of constituencies.

And in Edinburgh it was the most talked-about in four out of the five city seats. Only in Edinburgh North & Leith did the economy trump it.

The economy was the second hottest topic in the other four seats, followed by tax, health and Europe in varying order.

Facebook said it had analysed all 21 million posts, comments and ‘Likes’ across the UK linked to the general election in the ten-week period between January 1 and March 10 – an average of more than 304,000 election-related interactions every day.

As well as the hot issues, it also looked at the politicians who were most discussed. David Cameron came out top, followed by Nigel Farage and Ed Miliband. Nick Clegg was the fourth most-discussed leader, followed by Nicola Sturgeon. Despite the strong interest in the environment in Scotland, the issue ranked only fourth in the Brighton Pavilion constituency of Caroline Lucas, the Green Party’s only current sitting MP and did not even make the top five in the London seat of Holborn & St Pancras, which is being contested by Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.

Elizabeth Linder, Facebook politics and government specialist, said last year’s Scottish independence referendum had been the biggest topic of discussion on Facebook in the UK in 2014 and the general election had already generated more than twice as many interactions.

She said: “Politics was the most discussed topic on Facebook in the UK in 2014 and we expect this year to be no different.

“Over the last three months, as the election campaigns have kicked into gear, election-related debate has really come to life on Facebook.

“We’ve seen previously that conversation on Facebook has increased voter turnout, and we hope that activity on Facebook from all parties has helped raise awareness of the key issues among UK voters.”

Green candidate for Edinburgh East Peter McColl said: “I’m not surprised at the degree of prominence given to the environment in Facebook discussions.

“The major challenges of our time are all environmental in some way – whether it is conflict over resources; climate change driving energy and transport policy; or responding to the indignity of fuel poverty and food poverty.”