Economy and jobs the top election issues on Twitter

WATCH ABOVE: Twitter Canada is tracking the key issues during the 2015 federal election campaign, and has released some data ahead of the debate. Online reporter Erika Tucker looks at the interesting numbers.

Twitter Canada is tracking the key topics of the federal election campaign. And since the weekend, the top issue has been the economy — specifically jobs and the possibility that Canada will slip into recession.

That was followed by national security, particularly talk about the government’s controversial anti-terrorism legislation, known as Bill C-51.

READ MORE: Beyond the spin – Send us your burning election questions

Twitter Canada released its first data sets from the more than 26,000 tweets that users sent after the official start of the campaign.

More than 34,000 tweets have mentioned Stephen Harper’s Twitter handle (@pmharper) since the writ dropped on Aug. 2, according to the data.

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Twitter Canada said Harper and Trudeau have both gained more than 300,000 followers in the past 12 months. The firm also said there’s been a 423 per cent increase in daily tweets featuring the #cdnpoli hashtag since the last federal election in May 2011.

The numbers came just hours before Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Green party Leader Elizabeth May open the first leaders’ debate of the campaign Thursday night.

More candidates – about 800 across the country – have Twitter accounts to use during the campaign, and the firm says the right tweets at the right time could make a difference in a tight race.

With files from Global News