Thursday, 7 January 2010
Who's searching for whom on the Australian political scene as we enter the mother of all election periods
Over the next eighteen months Australians will go to the polls across Australia to elect a Federal Government (probably in 2010 but by April 2011 at the latest) and electors will be voting at state level in South Australia (March 2010), Tasmania (May 2010 at latest), Victoria (November 2010), and New South Wales (March 2011).
According to the Australian Elections Timetable the Northern Territory won't hold a state election until August 2012, the Australian Capital Territory is next at the polls in October 2012, West Australia does not have to hold an election before June 2012 at the earliest and Queensland does not go have to go to the polls until June 2012.
All in all, somewhere in the country voters will be having campaign spin forced down their throats (with varying degrees of resistance) for some time to come.
Google Trends comparison of Internet searches for Leaders of Government and their Opposition counterparts - Kevin Rudd & Tony Abbott (Federal), Anna Bligh & John-Paul Langbroek (QLD), Mike Rann & Isobel Redmond (SA), David Bartlett & Will Hodgman (TAS), John Brumby & Ted Ballieu (VIC), Colin Barnett & Eric Ripper (WA), John Stanhope & Zed Seselja (ACT), Paul Henderson & Terry Mills (NT) and Kristina Keneally & Barry O'Farrell (NSW).
Langbroek, Redmond, Hodgman, Ballieu, Ripper, Selselja, Mills and O'Farrell all rate low on a search query scale at home or overseas, but although still battling against an incumbent with a higher profile Tony Abbott tracks fairly steadily against the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and interest in him has shown a spike since he became Leader of the Opposition.
Only in Tasmania and the ACT did there appear to be sustained and vaguely comparable levels of search term disinterest in both government and opposition leaders.
It will be interesting to see if how these politicians trend on the Internet bore any relation to how they fared at the next elections.