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Can Brexit help us do well in the election?

May 2, 2017 12:35 PM
By Joe Zammit-Lucia in Liberal Democrat Voice

Opposition to a cliff-edge Brexit will be one of the defining messages for our party in the upcoming election. Will it work?

It can - but it needs to be handled well.

That is the message from a recent analysis that we have conducted looking at over 10 million Brexit-related tweets between November and April. Over that period, pro-Brexiteers have been overwhelmingly more successful than those who are opposing Brexit or opposing a hard Brexit. Why?

The pro-Brexiteers use effective, emotive language while anti-Brexiteers have a fondness for complex, rational arguments that have little resonance. Pro-Brexiteers are much more active on social media accounting for 66% of all activity over the period we have analysed. They also have clear leadership that is single issue focused.

All to play for

Our analysis provides a guide as to which sorts of communications are most effective in galvanizing the anti-Brexit community. And it can work. The last few weeks have shown a dramatically rising trend in anti-Brexit social media activity (see chart). The question is whether that can be sustained and turned into votes for our party. That will not be achieved by continuing with the same arguments and the same approaches that characterized the failure of the Remain campaign - and seem to continue to characterize current social media activity around opposition to Brexit. It requires new approaches and new thinking.

Can we do it in the time that is left?

* Joe Zammit-Lucia is a Liberal Democrat member and supporter and a commentator on business and political issues.