The Pew Research Center searched through public Twitter conversations to identify sentiment leading up to the European Union Parliament elections.
More than 1.2 million tweets in English, French and German aggregated from May 1-14 reveal mixed views about the EU and a general lack of passion about the candidates seeking the European Commission presidency.
Conversations in English show that 31% of the assertions on Twitter about the EU were positive toward the EU, compared with 39% that were negative and 30% neutral. Conversations in French show that 33% were positive, 39% negative and 28% neutral. Conversations in German differed, with 39% positive and 5% negative. The conversations either included the EU directly, institutions, or Europe.
The analysis also found that "other elements of the Twitter discussion in the run-up to the May 22-25 balloting for a 751-seat pan-European Parliament reinforce the notion that the 28-nation organization does not provoke particularly strong interest or approval in this corner of the social-networking world."
The candidate's parties seem to draw more attention than individual candidates among English-language discussions. None of the candidates received more than 12,886 English-language tweets in the time studied. While some candidates received additional attention in their native languages, the Pew analysis notes that the numbers are small. British Prime Minister David Cameron received 133,390 tweets alone during the same period, for instance. The tone toward each of the presidential candidates was neutral, with between 65% and 79% of the tweets not positive or negative.
Earlier analysis of trends on social media reveals little use of Twitter in Germany compared with other countries. While Twitter has publicly released figures citing 15 million monthly active users in the U.K., it has not released figures for usage in France or Germany, per Pew Research. Metrics from other analysts show that among those three countries, Germans use social media the least and the English use it the most.
Overall, the analysis related to sentiment about the European Union Parliament elections on Twitter provides interesting feedback on the state of politics in the EU. While Pew admits the analysis does not capture all the conversation about the candidates, it offers insights into this segment of Twitter users and the challenges that candidates face in the EU structure.