Brexit Today: Revoke Article 50 vs No Deal – Day 2

Brexit Revoke 2 pm 22nd

Above – comparing traffic between “No-Deal” and “Revoke” tropes on Twitter, 1.30pm March 22nd. Note the “dip” on the curves on the last day is because we are ony half way through the day and yesterday was a major peak, it will rise as the day progresses and traffic count increases.

Below – comparing traffic between “No-Deal” and “Revoke” tropes on Twitter, 1.30pm March 21st.

Brexit Revoke 2pm

Yesterday we showed the discussion around the petition to revoke Article 50 (the Parliament act that stipulates the UK must leave the EU), in otherw ords the petition is to stop the UK leaving the EU by default, and compared this traffic to the discussion last week about “No Deal” – which essentially the opposite option, to leave the EU no matter what.

The graphs today look at the same data and show two things:

  • Relative traffic levels for the “Revoke” trope at about 1.30 pm today and yesterday
  • Update Section- relative traffic levels for “Revoke” trope at about 10pm today and yesterda
  • The difference between the “Revoke” and “No Deal” discussions

Comparing the two days’ graphs we can see the traffic levels were a bit higher at 1.30 pm yesterday (March 21st) vs. today (March 22nd), i.e.: there has been a slight tailing off of the discussion level, not entirely surprising given the voting levels yesterday.  The petition tally was about 900,000 this time yesterday and about 3,000,000 today at 1.30 pm – so it has added 2.1 m signatories in these 24 hours. That is a very high signature rate in comparison to other petitions.

However, there are increasing accusations of fake votes (there is no validation of identity in the petition system), but as we noted yesterday both vote stuffing, and accusations of fake voting, are fairly standard fare for such petitions (we have been here before), so the key question is “what % are stuffed/fake” and that only really clarifies when the traffic dies down.

Update Section – Traffic Levels for “Revoke” and Petition discussion at 10pm

The chart below compares theupdated situation at 10pm on both days

Brexit Revoke 10pm 22nd

The 2 paragraphs below discuss the 10pm updated chart

As can be seen, traffic continued to fall away today. What is interesting is that the relative rate of petition signing was higher, yesterday it went from c 400,000 to 2.2 m, i.e. a rise of c 1.8m with very heavy site traffic. Today it rose from 2.2 to c 3.8m, a rise of c 1.6m, but on only about 2/3 of the traffic so we would have expected more like 1.2m signatures – so there are about400,000 more signatures than we’d predict assuming equal sign-to-traffic rates over the days. What could cause this?

It could also be that the backlogs from yesterdays outages were still being worked through in the early hours of today so some are part of today’s signature tally, it could be the systems are working faster today as they are under less load, it could be more signatures from people who are not that active on social media. It could also be vote stuffing (there have been increasing allegations throughout the day and it’s not at all unusual in these petitions) but even if one assumed vote stuffing was rife, unless it was of epic proportions (and probably much more obvious to see) it doesn’t invalidate what would still be a very large number of genuine signatures.

Comparing “Revoke” and “No Deal” discussions

The top graph shows the peak traffic levels of the 2 tropes, and as we predicted yesterday the total “Revoke” traffic at the end of ysterday peaked at about half the level of the No Deal peak level last weak. Given that the Revoke petition is essentially by Remainers for Remainers, it hasn’t had huge engagement by Leavers (yet – that may come, we can see opposition starting on the tweetstream). This is confirmed by the voting map by constituency (see here), which shows the petition’s main signatories are overwhelmigly from the heavy Remain areas.

We make no comment on political vailidity of the petition, but it seems to have captured a near 100% level of expected online Remain conversation, though as yet very little Leaver conversation. (Update – more over the afternoon but still a relatively small level)

Another point to make is that the discussion around the PeoplesVote (a 2nd referendum), the previous favoured Remain tactic, has largely been replaced by discussion about revoking Article 50, as it was falling off yesterday and today’s chart still shows virtually change to that. It may rise later as there is a march for the PeoplesVote tomorrow, however. (Update – not as of 10pm, it has stayed flat)

What we would expect to see today – if past topics like this are any guide – is an increasing  pushback from its opponents driving traffic up, but a decline in traffic from those who have voted already. This is more easily seen in the sentiment metrics (which are still very heavily influenced by the calls to vote, yesterday only about 5% were arguing against the current.)  (Update – there was more pushback but still relatively small, and the trope was mainly marked by traffic decline  over the afternoon, as one can see comparing the relative curves today and yesterday at 1.30 and 10pm)