Case Study: Trump visit to the UK

Ahead of Donald Trump’s recent visit to the UK, we were approached by a client with an interest in understanding what was motivating people to protest against his visit. Specifically, they wanted to know which of the various aspects of Trump’s governing style are most offensive to those UK voters who are not fans of Donald Trump. There are a number of factors in play including perceptions of misogyny, racism, homophobia, climate change denial, corruption, collusion, fiscal incompetence and diplomatic ineptitude.

The project was a perfect vehicle for ShareScore – our entry-level AI product that uses machine learning to remove inherent bias and work out what really matters to a given audience, based on sharing behaviour. A ‘Share’ is a significant marker of identification and interest online – far more so than a ‘Like’, a ‘Comment’ or a ‘View’. ShareScore pulls out the most shared articles and posts about any topic or topics and uses IBM Watson to extract the key topics and entities within that content. We then use a proprietary scoring system to work out which issues and personalities matter within a given topic. ShareScore looks beyond the volume of coverage and finds the stories that really matter.

In this case, we started with Trump in general then zeroed in on his visit to the UK. The report makes interesting reading and shows a considerable evolution in live issues between 2017 and 2018. (For context, we looked at both the planned 2018 visit and the cancelled 2017 trip.)

Read an extract from the Trump Report

This report was compiled many weeks before Trump’s actual visit and was naturally skewed by Gay Pride taking place on the same day – with activists looking to combine protest with celebration. There was still time for other factions to get involved in protesting the visit – which they subsequently did – but the report is still fascinating and presents a smorgasbord of live issues for the current POTUS. Three things that leapt out:

  • Depressingly, climate change which was a key issue in 2017 (Trump’s had just rejected the Paris accord) has fallen off the radar completely by this summer.

  • LGBTQ opposition is more vehement in 2018, no doubt because Trump’s visit coincided with Pride, but also reflecting the escalating legislative bigotry displayed towards gay and trans citizens in the past 12 months.

  • The number one reason why UK citizens dislike Donald Trump?
    His support for trophy hunting.

This last might surprise avid followers of the news cycle and Trump. But Britain is fundamentally a  nation of animal lovers. Outside the circles of news junkies and political nerds, the stories that really got people sharing in this country were about Trump’s decision to revoke Obama’s ban on Elephant trophy hunting. We see this pattern within other analysis projects including recent work on Brexit and Police Relations. Cruelty toward animals really gets people fired up.

We hope you enjoy the excerpt. To find out more about how ShareScore uses AI to remove bias and unlock the truly important strands of any given topic, please get in touch. To keep track of our day-by-day work, follow us @signify