Irish Presidential Election Live TV Debate Twitter Analysis

Last night saw, for the first time, a complete lineup of presidential candidates debating live on television for the 2018 election. We partnered with Olytico, specialists in social media monitoring and analysis, to gauge what talking points were discussed online and who dominated the share of voice.

Michael D Higgins - Aras18 - Social Media Live

In total, over 15,000 tweets were analyzed by Olytico with the following data extracted:

  • Insights into the number of tweets sent during the debate
  • What debate moments caught the attention of the digitally-led conversation
  • Which candidates drove most of the online conversation 
  • Number of mentions per candidate 
  • Number of unique authors per candidate
  • Most popular hashtags
  • Most popular words


As the race for Áras heats up, social media analysis by Stephen O’Leary, CEO of Olytico and Social Media Live speaker, found that:

Last night’s debate generated over 15,000 tweets, a 50% increase on the first televised debate, showing the significance of having all six candidates on stage. The most quoted line from the night came from Michael D Higgins who said ‘I’ve been turning up since 1969’ and ‘Add it to the list’, both causing spikes on Twitter during the 90 minute debate.

 Aras18 - Social Media Live


The graphic above illustrates that two candidates, President Michael D Higgins and Peter Casey, dominated online conversations, both for opposing reasons. Mr Casey’s controversial comments towards the traveling community were debated late into the night while President Higgins’ quick comments, sharp wit, and articulate responses were celebrated and shared widely. Below is a quick roundup of some of the most popular comments from the live debate:

Sean Gallagher - Social Media Live

Joan Freeman - Social Media Live

Liadh Ni Riada - Social Media Live