LONDON – Facebook is proving to be the most influential social media platform in the EU Referendum campaign, according to new research by Weber Shandwick and Pure Profile.
In a nationally representative poll of over 1000 UK adults, conducted from 27 May to 3 June, 40% of those who had engaged with Facebook said it influenced their views.
Most influential were TV and radio debates, with an influence score of 51%, online news at 50%, print news at 46%, TV and radio news at 45% and family and friends at 43%.
The poll also found the public leaning 46-40 in favour of Brexit.
The generation gap in voting intentions was particularly striking with 57% of 25-34 year olds wanting to remain, whereas 60% of those over 65 want to leave.
The full findings of the poll can be found here.
Commenting on the results, Jon McLeod, Chairman UK Corporate, Financial and Public Affairs, said:
“It is clear that Facebook should be a weapon of choice in any political campaign. It is also noteworthy that online news has now outstripped print media, reflecting the rise in news acquired by consumers through mobile devices.
“Our polling builds on the work we did during the 2015 General Election campaign to determine which channels engaged voters best – and changed minds. There are lessons in these findings for any communicator trying to understand how to reach and influence a mass public most effectively.”
Heléna Barnett-Lonergan, Pure Profile’s Business Development Director UK, said:
“The results show that the UK population is eager to have its voice heard on this important issue, with 9 in 10 of those polled stating they planned to vote on the 23rd June. How they are being reached and influenced by both sides, is particularly interesting, with the tried and tested methods of leafleting and door canvassing showing that they are far less likely to sway a voter in this campaign compared to the relatively new channels of social and online media.
“The public, whose views previously were more likely to be influenced by the words and promises of politicians, now have numerous channels where they can communicate and share their views. It is apparent that the public are becoming far more likely to view and share opinions online and listen to their family and peers rather than be influenced by those at the centre of the debate.”