Neil Clough is the viewers’ favourite to win The Apprentice

Self-assured businessman is the only candidate with a positive social media sentiment, marking him out as the people's favourite to win lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment

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Lord Sugar’s The Apprentice series nine is down to the final five candidates and according to social media, regional manager Neil Clough is the clear favourite to win.

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Out of the five finalists – Luisa Zissman, Leah Totton, Jordan Poulton and Francesca MacDuff-Varley – Neil is the only one to boast a positive social media rating.

Attracting more than 15,000 tweets throughout the series so far, Virgin Media has been busy using The Hotlist, their new TV measurement tool, to track how positive these messages are and how often Neil’s name is associated with the word ‘win’.

It transpires that plucky Clough has a +1.53% positivity rating and 14% of references to Neil mark him out as the potential winner, or use the ‘win’ or ‘winning’.

Clough’s closest social media rival is Luisa – also boasting more than 15,000 tweets, yet having largely been described as “annoying” and most often tipped to go, she scores a negative social media rating of -11%.

Jordan, who is hanging on by the skin of his teeth after last week’s revelations that he already has a business partner, has received around 6,000 tweets. Junior Doctor Leah has earned roughly 7,000 mentions.

Francesca appears to be the wildcard, avoiding a firing from Lord Sugar and only gaining 2,000 social media mentions.

So, can Neil, who believes “behind every project manager is a Neil Clough”, go all the way? The Twittersphere thinks so, but with the interviews to get through tonight, only time will tell. 

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The Apprentice is on BBC1 tonight at 9:00pm