17 April 2010

Clegg mania continues

UPDATE: As of 21:33 on 18 April, Clegg now has more fans than Cameron on Facebook, having gained more than 10,000 since Thursday night

Confirming the difference a televised debate can make, the surge in media coverage around Nick Clegg has also resulted in a dramatic rise in online searches for the Liberal Democrat leader. Mentions of Clegg have also risen almost exponentially across all social media, driven largely by Twitter.

Almost twice as many users are now following Clegg on Twitter as a result, making him the most followed British politician on the micro-media site.

At the time of writing, Clegg has also seen his fanbase on Facebook rise by more than 10,000 to 23,458 - marginally behind David Cameron on 25,478.

Surpassing the volume of searches when Clegg was elected leader of the party in December 2007 for the first time, visits to the party's website are also up 170% on last month and more than double any point in the past two years.

Underlining the fact that Clegg must differentiate himself from Cameron in the eyes of voters, almost 50% more voters subsequently searched for Cameron than Gordon Brown and 5.6% of visitors to the Lib Dem website came from Conservatives.com, as opposed to 3.6% from Labour.org.uk.

The ITV debate also saw Clegg overtake his two rivals in search volumes for the first time since Brown called the election on April 6th and move further ahead the following day. Although this may be largely down to the fact that many viewers had never heard of him, the increased traffic to the party website suggests voters may now be more open to switching allegiances after the debate than prior to it.

'Nick Clegg wiki' was also a prominent search, highlighting the fact that many voters are looking to find out more about his background - attacking his record as a career politician may be next line of assault for the Tories and Labour.

Meanwhile, searches for Clegg's wife was the biggest rising search term - perhaps the most depressing reality of the 2010 election.

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