WATCH ABOVE: During the leaders debate, there was one exchange that has garnered the most attention. Tom Vernon reports.
TORONTO – Jim Prentice, leader of the Alberta PCs, is being panned Friday for telling NDP leader Rachel Notley that he knows “math is difficult” during Thursday’s leaders’ debate.
The comment sparked a firestorm of debate on twitter.
Prentice made the comment during an exchange with Notley about her plan to hike corporate taxes to 12 per cent in Alberta. He said Friday morning that he was referring to a mathematical mistake made in the NDP platform when it was first released.
WATCH: Progressive Conservative Leader Jim Prentice says to NDP Leader Rachel Notley, “I know that math is difficult,” during the Alberta leaders’ debate.
“Well, Rachel Notley is an excellent debater, I respect her enormously and I thought a high point of the night were the exchanges between her and I about the future of Alberta. You know my comment about math, I was referring in fact to mathematical error in the NDP platform that required them to pull their platform back for 36 hours,” he said.
“And I didn’t intend that towards Rachel personally in any way.”
WATCH: #mathishard trends on social media following Alberta leaders debate
But many social media users took it as an attack on the only woman in the debate.
The hashtag #MathIsHard was trending on Twitter soon after Prentice’s comment with most of the tweets, from both men and women, being positive.
The website Wayin.com tracks the metadata of tweets including the gender of the person who tweeted and whether their comment was positive or negative.
And an unscientific analysis of those tweets makes it clear Prentice didn’t win many friends with social media users.
WATCH: Progressive Conservative leader Jim Prentice joins Global Calgary to discuss the outcome of last night’s leaders’ debate.
READ MORE: Notley-Prentice battle, ‘donor’ zinger, #mathishard dominate social response to debate
There was slightly more than 2,700 tweets with the hashtag #MathIsHard since Prentice made the comment, with about 4.3 tweets per minute at the height of its popularity.
The website wasn’t able to determine the gender of everyone who tweeted, but for the more than 1,600 tweets which were analyzed, they were evenly split among gender, with 805 posts by women and 887 posts by men.
Live coverage recap: Alberta election leaders’ debate
And most tweets, whether positive or negative, supported Notley. And those too were evenly split, according to Wayin.com, with 345 negative posts and 330 positive posts.
One of the apparently positive posts, according to Wayin.com:
One of the negative posts:
Even when widening the analysis to the more popular #ABvote hashtag, Prentice took a beating on social media.
There was a total of 36,407 posts with the hashtag; 6,262 positive, and 4,904 negative and many took a jab at the incumbent.
Some of the negative tweets:
Some of the positive tweets: