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The Lib Dem surge online

Rory Cellan-Jones | 13:31 UK time, Monday, 19 April 2010

Another week, another digital news cycle - and this time it's one dominated by the sudden rise of Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats.

For our Daily Politics piece this Monday I've looked at the reaction online to Mr Clegg's performance in last week's prime ministerial debate.

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The debate itself has proved a YouTube hit for ITV, with almost 134,000 views for the 90-minute clip and thousands more for shorter clips.

For a shorter interpretation of the debate you can try this 15-second cartoon summary.

Elsewhere, almost 100,000 have now joined a Facebook group with the aim of getting the Liberal Democrats into office, while supporters of Nick Clegg have started an online shop selling "I Agree with Nick" merchandise.

Google search data is also interesting: the Lib Dem leader is by far the most searched-for leader in the days since Thursday's debate.

Screengrab of Google Insights graph showing search term popularity of Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg

On Twitter and in the blogs the Conservatives have been hitting back. A Conservative press officer Henry Macrory was quick to spot a letter describing a Clegg as "a horsefly - a nuisance but hardly a major threat".

Meanwhile the ConservativeHome blog has been filling up with inventive posters created by its readers to question Lib Dem policies. And Tory blogger Iain Dale has been warning that personal attacks on Nick Clegg could backfire.

Labour has been rather quiet online, so quiet that it was not until after our report was finished that we found something new from them, this quite inventive site portraying a grim economic future under a Conservative government that was launched at the party's morning news conference.

But the most pressing question to emerge over the weekend was about this video by the Cameron Girls: genuine Conservative fans or a cheeky Labour or Lib Dem viral?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    "a Facebook group with the aim of getting the Liberal Democrats into office"

    I think the link may be wrong. Perhaps it should refer to this group

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=113749985304255&ref=ts

  • Comment number 2.

    Personally I don't see the spoof site as very inventive - wouldn't it have been better for Labour just to provide a link to The Mirror? Same lack of journalistic standards, same Tabloid "look and feel" but someone has already done it!

    However, we are living in interesting times, and I think the rise of the Lib Dems is positive for politics as a whole, and I don't buy the scare stories that Lib Dems will automatically side with Labour.

    If Labour get the most seats but finish 3rd I would imagine that any alliance would be a disaster for the Lib Dems and risk killing off their message.

  • Comment number 3.

    This was originally a facebook site that was set up to get rage against the machine to No.1 to stop Cowell. The Administrators have now hijacked it for their political purposes. Since this happened over 50,000 have stopped their link to this FB site, so you can not say that this is a bone fide pro Lib dem FB site with 100,000 members.

  • Comment number 4.

    Quote: " 3. At 4:49pm on 19 Apr 2010, Dave wrote:
    This was originally a facebook site that was set up to get rage against the machine to No.1 to stop Cowell. The Administrators have now hijacked it for their political purposes. Since this happened over 50,000 have stopped their link to this FB site, so you can not say that this is a bone fide pro Lib dem FB site with 100,000 members."

    I don't know where pulled this from but it's absolute tosh. It's a separate group to the original Christmas Number 1 group. The creator is not the same person as the first group, although recently he has joined the team of administrators as a moderator.

    The only way for someone to 'stop their link' is to remove themselves from the group which would be reflected in real time in the number of members displayed.

    The group has 103,000 legit members and growing. Please keep your uninformed half-truths to yourself.

  • Comment number 5.

  • Comment number 6.

    That group was NOT set up to get Rage Against the Machine to No1. It's a completely different group, that was started with the aim of getting Lib Dems into power. I should know - I joined when there were only 3,000 or so of us (and, at the time, sent a link to it to Rory, actually).

    Whatever you're on about with the '50,000 have stopped their link to this FB site' I don't know.

  • Comment number 7.

    Dave i am curious to know where you obtained this information concerning the mentioned Facebook page. NO person at any time has hijacked anything, it's a completely different page the only similarity is part of the title and the fact it's people power. The page has over 100,000 genuine members at no point has anyone let alone 50,000 people stopped their link to the Facebook site.

  • Comment number 8.

    Dave's comment above is rubbish as this group~ http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=113749985304255&ref=ts ~ is new and the old RATM group still exists here http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=113749985304255#!/ratm4xmas?ref=ts.

  • Comment number 9.

    Dave's comment is completely untruthful, and not based on fact in any way at all.
    The "We got Rage Against the Machine to #1, we can get the Lib Dems into office!" facebook group is a completely new group, which is based on the older Christmas No1 group's success in using facebook to get great things done. As the group says "Our reference to the Christmas RATM effort is simply a recognition of the way people can join together for a purpose (any purpose!) using a social networking site".
    The Christmas No1 group is still fully working, and has not been hijacked in any way to form the Lib Dem group.

  • Comment number 10.

    The comments above about the Facebook group supporting the LibDems as spoof is obviously written by sour Labour or Conservative supporters.
    The group asked permission to use the idea for the RATM theme from it's creator, and he agreed.
    It was a group started from scratch to utilise the power of social networking sites in a common cause. I noticed it at 18,000 members when I was about to start my own group. I joined it a few days later when it was at 60,000 members and it is now over 100,000 members and growing because people actually want to see LibDems in Government and are sick of Labour and Conservative. It's about time this country actually became a true democracy. NICK CLEGG all the way!

  • Comment number 11.

    The debate You Tube hit - 134,000 views;
    thousands more for shorter clips.
    FaceBook 100,000 have now joined with the aim of getting the Liberal Democrats into office.
    Supporters of Nick Clegg have started an online shop selling "I Agree with Nick" merchandise.
    Google: the Lib Dem leader is by far the most searched-for leader in the days since Thursday's debate.
    It’s a similar phenomenon which delivered Obama into the Whitehouse; a cry for change, a cry almost for a Messiah that could deliver the people from all this chaos.
    Obamamania swept Obama into office, and we all know what’s happened (or not happened) since.
    Cleggomania may sweep Clegg into office. I think he’s a good man and will do his best, but as I’ve said before the UK should not switch horses in midtream; times are too troubled. The job comes with experience required.

  • Comment number 12.

    Whilst this is all very nice, the biggest issue I can see is that currently the Lib Dems are just behind the Tories in the polls with Labour bringing up the rear by some distance, and yet if these were to be the results then the chances are that Labour would win the most seats. This is a disgrace to democracy and surely must be altered. In fact I would go so far as to say that any Government that won with these percentages would actually be a national embarrassment and further highlight the complete separation between politics and the people.

    On another note, the Facebook page is not a high jack, just using the previous campaign's success. Also, the Cameron Girls are clearly a British version of Obama Girl from the US elections, though a good one!

  • Comment number 13.

    They are all misinformed. They may vote for whomever they wish; I don't care if Ming the Merciless and his cronies are pushing for all firstborns to be fed to the lake of fire, or if you support Cthulhu for Prime Minister. (Which is also a FB group.) To avoid a hung Parliament people need to do the research before they vote. According to the numbers on this very website, they will need over triple what the Tories need to get a proper Parliament, and even their target is unprecedented in British democracy since World War 2. A vote for the Lib Dems will either turn into a vote for Labour or for a Parliament who spends all its time playing table tennis instead of debating. Read and learn, people - it is NOT all to do with radical policies!!

  • Comment number 14.

    #13 Alice,

    Surely you must be able to work out that First Past The Post means exactly that. The reasons why the "swing" calculations show Lib Dems needing triple what the Tories need is because ALL of those calculators are predicated the belief that a swing away from the Tories is a swing towards Labour and vice versa. None of them are actually set up to work for a 3 horse race and none of them are set up to work out what a swing towards Lib Dem from both Lab & Con would do. I actually believe that in this election there are NO SAFE SEATS (apart from Ed Davey's) and many Labservative heavyweights are about to find themselves in the same position as Norman Lamont in 1997.

  • Comment number 15.

    This is a disgrace to democracy and surely must be altered. In fact I would go so far as to say that any Government that won with these percentages would actually be a national embarrassment and further highlight the complete separation between politics and the people.

 

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