Is Stefan Löfven really a popular topic in Swedish parties' Tweets?

October 8, 2018

Back in March, Feelingstream analysed and compared the speeches of Kersti Kaljulaid and Sauli Niinistö, the presidents of Estonia and Finland. With the recent Swedish elections in mind as well as Feelingstream announcing the plan to enter the Nordic market, a new plan was set up. How about we take a brief look at what Swedish political parties were saying? Or to be more exact - tweeting.

Brief election summary and choosing the data 

September 9th was an important date for everyone in Sweden due to general elections taking place. 349 members of Riksdag were to be elected who play a decisive role in choosing the Prime Minister of Sweden. From 2012 the position was held by Stefan Löfven, leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party who was recently voted out by the parliament.

Most seats were given to three parties - 114 to Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterna), 84 to Moderates (Moderaterna) and 49 to Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna). While the level of support of the first two parties decreased, Sweden Democrats secured a greater support. Thus we were interested in including the latter party for the analysis. Social Democrats proceed to be the most popular among Swedes which is why they were chosen as the opposing party within our comparison.

The initial plan was to compare the dictums of Stefan Löfven and Jimmie Åkesson, leaders of the selected parties. Given that the comparison was to be conducted with Text Analytics, textual data was necessary. While Löfven's speeches were easily accessible online, specifically in written form, the same did not apply to Åkesson whose opinions were more represented in recorded form. Therefore, we chose to focus on Tweets of both Social Democrats and Sweden Democrats, instead of their leaders. Data was extracted from between January 2017 and September 2018, with 3199 Tweets from Sweden Democrats and 3203 Tweets from Social Democrats.

Social Democrats' Tweets

Social Democrats' Tweets, Feelingstream 2018

Social Democrats' Tweets, Feelingstream 2018

The chart below shows most important tweeted keywords using tf-idf which reflects the importance of a word within the collected data. As we can see, the TOP 10 prominent terms found in Social Democrats' Tweets include sverige, stefanlöfven, sd, regeringen, val, förslag, samhälle, vården, välfärden and starkare.

The keywords show that throughout nearly 2 years the party's Twitter account has made references to rather general topics, e.g. welfare, elections and the government. It is interesting to point out that the leader of Social Democrats, Stefan Löfven, has high importance in tweeted context whilst socialdemokraterna isn't among the most popular terms. The abbreviation sd addresses the Swedish Democrats, meaning that the opposing party has been mentioned on a fair number of occasions.


Sweden Democrats Tweets, Feelingstream 2018

Sweden Democrats Tweets, Feelingstream 2018

Sweden Democrats' Tweets

As for Sweden Democrats, the chart indicates that sd, svpol, sverige, jimmieåkesson, almedalen, stefanlöfven, regeringen, amp, val  and politik are the TOP 10 most frequent terms in their Tweets.

It is clear that term usage is mainly related to Swedish politics, through references to the government and elections, as well as their own party with - sd being the most frequently used keyword. Unique terminology usage introduces the example almedalen which refers to the most important form in Swedish politics held annually in Almedalen. We can also see 2 name mentionings - jimmieåkesson and stefanlöfven - who are the leaders of their respective parties.

Topic distribution

Term frequency is one way of looking into large data context. In addition to this, we were curious to detect which topics were most commonly talked about since January 2017. For this, we conducted an analysis with the help of our Decision Model Builder. The results were the following (in a random order):

Swedish Democrats:

1. Jimmie Åkesson and the Swedish Democrats party
2. September 2018 elections, incl. political debates
3. Welfare
4. The Swedish government and EU
5. Stefan Löfven and the Social Democrats
6. Almedalen forum
7. Criminal policy, including violence
8. Fake news
9. Migration policy questions, e.g. Afghan asylum seekers
10. Financial issues (economy)

Social Democrats:

1. Education, e.g. the issue with profit-making schools (#stoppavinstjakten)
2. Stefan Löfven and the Social Democrats party
3. September 2018 elections
4. Safety problems of the society, incl. police mentionings
5. Women's rights
6. Welfare, incl. care for the elderly and mentally ill
7. Integration within the society
8. Unemployment
9. Financial issues (economy)
10. The Swedish government

What did they tweet during the elections?

What we say can vary depending on the time of the year or the circumstances. How about we narrow down the time period and take a look at the Tweet content around the time of Swedish elections? To illustrate TOP 100 used words, we created word clouds for both parties separately.

Social Democrats' Tweets (01/08/2018 - 30/09/2018)

Swedish Democrats' Tweets (01/08/2018 - 30/09/2018)

Highlights of the comparison

A brief discourse analysis and lexical comparison of the collected data allow us to point out a few summarising observations:

  1. While Social Democrats prominently refer to the party's leader Stefan Löfven, Sweden Democrats centralise more on the party as a whole (in the general setting);

  2. Both parties have tweeted about each other quite prominently;

  3. Around the time of the elections the Swedish Democrats were addressing fewer topics than Social Democrats;

  4. While Social Democrats focused mainly on society-related topics, e.g. education and welfare, Sweden Democrats were more focused on elections and Swedish politics.

Text Analytics application not only works in business but also in everyday life. Tf-idf, for example, is a good method to look into what parties have to say, since term importance reflects the main topics or concerns of a political party. This way we can get a quick picture of the parties' social media representations and form opinions on a more factual basis while discussing political questions.

What kind of opinion will you form based on these Tweets?

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