by GK Strategy 4th October, 2018
2 min read

Knowing May, Knowing You

At the start of September, we wrote about Theresa May’s diplomatic dancing. This week you’ll have seen she’s been playing the ‘dancing queen’ once again at the Conservative Party Conference. Many praised the Prime Minister’s keynote conference speech for showing more personality and emotion. After being branded the ‘Maybot’, dancing, joking and sharing personal stories was a much needed relief from the serious PM. Furthermore, her MPs seemed impressed by the message she shared for a strong Brexit, and a stronger Britain post-Brexit. However, the true test is not what journalists and her fellow party members say, but what the public post online. GK used our digital data capabilities to analyse online reaction to the Prime Minister’s speech.

As we explained in our last analysis of Theresa May’s popularity, online sentiment towards her has hovered around 40% negativity consistently this year. This reflects the stagnation of voting intention polls, where there has been little sustained change in popularity for any party. A month ago, when Theresa May visited South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, online sentiment towards her was 38% negative. Right now, in the two days since her speech, sentiment remains about the same at 41% negative. Interestingly however, there has been a 122% increase in post volume about “Theresa May”. This demonstrates the ability of Conference Season to capture the public’s attention.

Drilling down into the data, posts mentioning “Theresa May” and “speech” were slightly more positive with 37% conveying negative sentiment. However, only 23% posts mentioning “Theresa May” and “dancing”, or “dance” were negative. This large drop in negativity towards Mrs May when dancing is involved reflects our analysis about her dancing in Africa – people like it! In fact, they seem to like it even more now than a month ago. While in Africa, posts related to the Prime Minister dancing only decreased negativity by 8%; for the party conference dance, negativity decreased by 17%. Perhaps May’s online critics are big ABBA fans….

While her actual speech only made online negative sentiment decrease by 4%, suggesting that listeners were perhaps not particularly moved by it, they noted her stage presence. One of Theresa May’s biggest challenges is getting people on her side. By dancing and making jokes about last year’s disastrous conference, she embraces the British art of self-deprecation – the perfect tool to make even the stiffest upper lip curl into a smile. Perhaps a few more moves will have won the public over – if someone doesn’t bring up Brexit first!

For all the latest coverage and analysis of Theresa May and other politicians, make sure you’re getting the GK Newsletter – coming to your inbox every Friday afternoon. Sign up here.

See more articles by GK Strategy

sort news by category

Insight, Strategy, Impact,

apprenticeships, awards, B2G, Biden, Bills, Blueprint, bolt on, Boris, Boris Johnson, Brexit, business, careers, circular economy, climate change, climate crisis, clinical trials, commissioning, Communications, Consumer, consumer demands, COP, covid, COVID 19, Crisis comms, culture, d, David Laws, decarbonisation, defence, Deregulation, Devolution, Digital, Disruption, diversity, Due Diligence, economic policy, Education, elections, Energy, Energy and Environment, energy efficiency, engagement, Environment, Equality, ESG, EU, europe, exit plan, Financial Services, general election, General News, Germany, gig economy, GK culture, gk report, Government, government affairs, Health, health & Care Bill, health and care, health and social care, health funding, health insights, Healthcare, Hendy, housing, HS2, i have a voice, infrastructure, insight, insight report, insights, integrated review, internship, Investment, Investor, Investor Backed Businesses, Investor Services, investors, Ioan, Jack Sansum, Jeremy Corbyn, job, Labour, labour conference, Labour market, Legislation, legistation, levy, life sciences, local government, lockdown, medical devices, Medicines, membership bodies, mental health, mental health services, nationalisation, NHS, no, No deal, parliament, pharma, pharmaceuticals, Planning, policy, Political Due Diligence, Politics, Pride Month, Prime Minister, Private Equity, Privatisation, Public Affairs, Public Relations, Public spending, Queen's Speech, rail, recruitment, REF, regulation, reshuffle, sales, Scotland, Scott, security, Select Committee, select committees, skills, Social Care, Spending Review, Strategic Communications, students, sustainability, Tax, Technology, The Conservative Party, The Labour Party, trade bodies, transformation, Transport, uk, UK Politics, university, US, US election, Wales, Waste, wind, Winter Plan, women, Workplace,