In the spring of 2011, Egyptians leveraged Twitter as a means to energize, inform, and organize public protests leading to the overthrow of the Mubarak regime. In the spring of 2012, Egypt’s upcoming election has generated a storm of controversy and instability that threatens the country’s safe transition to civilian democracy. As the events unfold, Egyptians have again taken to Twitter to discuss the issues, organize protests, and express their political opinions.
Our social media analysis examined English-language Twitter posts from users in Egypt. This undoubtedly is only a subset of all social media discussion in Egypt surrounding the election; nevertheless, this analysis provides insights into the trends and nature of the conversation within the country itself. According to our analysis of Egyptian sentiment on Twitter, public opinion of the election is primarily negative, with 26% expressing negative sentiment and just 8% expressing optimism about the election and candidates. Of the negative opinions, 18% generally criticize the elections, while 8% express specific opposition to the disqualification of candidates by the election commission.
The vast majority of the conversation about the election, however, is dedicated to neutral commentary, with 65% spreading news and information about the race. 27% of conversation specifically mentions the prospects of candidates:
- 18% mentions the platforms and backgrounds of candidates
- 9% discusses the disqualifications of candidates by the Electoral Commission
The entrance and elimination of Omar Suleiman, former vice president and intelligence chief during the Mubarak regime, particularly spurred a significant amount of discussion.
Protests, undoubtedly a critical factor in the political climate surrounding the election in Egypt, inspire 17% of the overall conversation. This category jumped to 30% of conversation on April 20 surrounding the protests in Tahrir Square. The influence of prominent groups also figures into neutral conversation and may be indicative of public perceptions surrounding these groups. The Muslim Brotherhood in particular generates 10% of overall conversation, while the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) draws just 3% in the context of election discussion.
The negative slant of opinions surrounding the elections is indicative of a public reaction to widespread political instability in Egypt. Nevertheless, it is encouraging that Egyptians continue to use social media platforms primarily to generate communication and spur political action as a positive force for change in their country.
As always, we’ll continue analyzing the space for interesting trends. In the meantime, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to learn how your market, brand or product could benefit from leveraging the Crimson Hexagon ForSight™ platform for social media monitoring and analysis. Want to see the Crimson Hexagon platform in action? Request a Live Online Demo.
Gigi Lopez contributed to this post.