Tag Archives: Mike Parker

The Social Media Battle: Ceredigion

Synopsis: Mike Parker edging ahead of his LibDem rival

In the Ceredigion Facebook dual, Mark has 2,461 likes. It looks pretty engaging stuff – decent images, lots of local stories and so on. That’s reflected in the Likealyzer score of 81. Mark averages 49 interactions per post, but has a response rate to people of just 26%. Still, you can’t argue with the stats. 8.1 marks for Mark.

Mike’s site has gathered 1,567 likes. Given that Mark’s been an MP for 10 years, Mike’s total is pretty good in comparison. Mike’s content is focused on policies rather than engagement. Presumably that’s because he leaves his engagement principally for twitter? Mike gets 89 interactions per post, and a response rate of only 3%. See previous sentence. But despite having fewer likes and poor response rate, Mike’s Likealyzer score is 85. Way to go.

Let’s have a look at the Twitter battle. Mark’s following is 4,810, which is pretty good by the standards of politicians in Wales (bearing in mind that the Deryn graphic is 18 months old). But fascinatingly, just 301 of them are from Ceredigion. 654 are from Cardiff and 832 from London. The median number of followers of Mark’s followers is 321. And the two most frequently named places in the ‘location’ field of Mark’s followers are “UK” and “London”. Ceredigion – since you ask – is 7th in the list. Mark tweets 6 times per day (Riffle), and it’s mainly images of various groups of people (largely the same people, looking at them) taking selfies or chowing down on food. Which is fine if you’re on holiday, but not really engaging in a political sense. Mark’s top mentions (from Riffle) are @nuswales (could it be he’s looking towards the student vote?!), @youtube and @kirsty_williams. No place for Nick Clegg in there. Just three of Mark’s tweets have been retweeted more than 20 times, with a top mark of 40. Mark has a Klout score of 59 – although with just 6% of his followers being geographically eligible to vote for him, a lot of that Klout is misdirected. Mark’s not on LinkedIn nor google plus.

Mike has 2,485 followers, with 167 from Ceredigion. I suspected that Mike uses twitter to engage, and boy was I right. A very, very high proportion of his tweets are ‘contact’ tweets – conversations with people. Ceredigion is 8th on Mike’s list of ‘location’ for followers, but instead of UK and London, Mike’s two first-placed locations are “Wales” and “Aberystwyth”. These followers are likely to be considerably more useful to Mike than his London-based fans will be to Mark, and the median following of Mike’s followers is 343 – slightly better than Mark. Mike’s tweeting 12 times per day, including the entertaining ‘canvassing competition’. It’s an altogether more engaging fayre than the offer from his rival. Intriguingly, Mike’s top mention is also @nuswales, with @plaidcymru and @penrijames following. Although given that the official party account is @plaid_cymru then either Riffle or Mike is getting unstuck. His top tweet has been retweeted a whopping 708 times, with an additional five gathering more than 20 retweets. Mike’s Klout score is 58, and with a shade under 7% of his followers based in Ceredigion he’s hitting a marginally higher proportion of potential constituents (but fewer in absolute terms). Mike doesn’t appear to be on LinkedIn or google plus.

So the verdict is a nail-biting:

Mark 14.0/30

Mike 14.3/30

1 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Westminster

Target Seats in Wales: Plaid

Plaid Cymru’s situation throws up a series of interesting findings. For the other parties, there was by and large a clear correlation: those seats where the party does well in share of the vote are those where it is relatively close to the incumbent party. For Plaid there are a slew of seats where they pick up a decent share of the vote (ten seats they don’t hold with 20% of the vote or more) but are way behind the victorious party. The reason is, of course, the Labour hegemony in south Wales.

So here are the stats for those keenest amongst us.

Plaid already hold: Arfon, Carmarthenshire East & Dinefwr, Ceredigion, Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Ynys Môn.

And here’s the top 10, in order, of seats that Plaid will be eyeing up in 2015:

  • Llanelli
  • Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire
  • Caerphilly
  • Aberconwy
  • Clwyd West
  • Neath
  • Clwyd South
  • Cardiff West
  • Rhondda
  • Preseli Pembrokeshire

This gives us an indication of the scale of the challenge facing Leanne Wood in her decision to contest Rhondda in 2016. The reason it’s only the 9th-best prospect is because Plaid were a massive 34% behind the first-placed party in the last poll, despite recording nearly 30% of the vote themselves. It’s a mountain to climb. People talk in awe about Alex Salmond’s astounding capture of Gordon in 2007. That required an increase in the share of the vote of merely 19%. Leanne needs an increase of 35%. Such a result would be spectacular and – excepting Brent East (itself a special case) – unprecedented.

Should Labour be complacent? The stats tell us a bit more of the story. Leighton Andrews’ 12,650 votes were only 1,400 more than Wayne David’s in 1999 – and would not have been enough to deny Geraint Davies from taking Rhondda in 1999. In that first Assembly election turnout was 50.2%; turnout in the last Assembly election was just 38%. It seems to suggest that when there’s an interesting political contest, turnout is boosted. And history suggests that the boost in turnout benefits one party more than any other.

Enough of Rhondda. Because we need to take account of the fact that Plaid don’t hold the same constituencies in both Parliaments, Ceredigion and Ynys Môn arrive at the top of the list, pushing Rhondda to 11th spot. Our list now looks like:

  • Ynys Môn
  • Ceredigion
  • Llanelli
  • Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire
  • Caerphilly
  • Aberconwy
  • Clwyd West
  • Neath
  • Clwyd South
  • Cardiff West

It’s no surprise to see Ynys Môn at the top of the list. Following Plaid’s recent success in the local elections, and with Ieuan Wyn Jones announcing his resignation today, Plaid would be in pretty poor shape to lose the seat at the upcoming by-election. Expect lots of visits to the island from Peter Hain and other Labour big guns, and a non-stop discussion of Plaid’s uncomfortable position on nuclear. Following by-election success, Ynys Môn is clearly a major target for Plaid in 2015, with Albert Owen’s majority of under 2,500. Ieuan Wyn as the candidate, perhaps?!

Ceredigion has become a much more interesting contest with the selection of Mike Parker as candidate for Plaid. Mike is one of the most interesting candidates Plaid could have picked for this constituency. Erudite, English and engaging. Someone who can fire people’s imagination.

I said previously that Mark Williams would be “firmly in control of the seat for 2015”. Suddenly I’m not so sure. Let’s remember that Cynog Dafis pulled in an additional 8,200 votes to take Ceredigion for Plaid in 1992. And Mark’s majority? 8,300. Hold onto your hats!

Llanelli looks distinctly less achievable for Plaid in the UK election than at the Welsh election. Nia Griffith commands a 4,500 majority, and although that was reduced at the 2010 election, it was a poor election for Labour in general. And given that the totemic Ron Davies couldn’t take Caerphilly in an Assembly election that is always more benign for the Party of Wales, it’s not likely to fall in 2015. 

In the face of a Labour party expected to improve on its 2010 performance – although not spectacularly, given Ed Miliband’s struggling leadership – most of the rest of the top 10 look challenging. Add in the UK context under which UK elections are (unsurprisingly) fought, alongside the London-centric bias of the broadcast and print media, and the picture looks tough for gains of more than one seat. Holding onto Arfon will be enough to keep the troops busy between now and 2015.

10 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Elections, Labour, Plaid Cymru, Westminster