What are New Zealanders Googling in the lead up to the election?

Data from Google shows the National Party topping political parties in search interest, but Labour's Jacinda Ardern is overwhelmingly the most searched leader.

Google Trends provides a snapshot of what topics or items people are looking for on the Google search engine and how they compare.

In the lead up to October 17, a specific, election-related page has been set up to show the relative interest in each political party and their leaders. 


Who are Kiwis Googling?

According to the data of search interest in political parties over the last seven days in Aotearoa, the New Zealand National Party accounted for 32 percent of searches.

It's followed by Act with 20 percent of searches, the Labour Party with 17 percent, New Zealand First with 17 percent and the Green Party of Aoteaora at 14 percent. 

Which leader is the most Googled?

In terms of party leaders, Ardern leads the way with 54 percent of searches. Judith Collins has 19 percent of searches, Winston Peters received 16 percent, James Shaw got 5 percent, as did David Seymour. Marama Davidson received 1 percent. 

The most-searched leaders over the past week.
The most-searched leaders over the past week. Photo credit: Google Trends

A timeline of search interest in leaders beginning on August 27 shows Ardern has been consistently the most searched for leader, with Collins popping into the top position a handful of times in early September.

Peters has dipped in and out of second place since early September.


What are Kiwis questioning?

The data reveals the top searched voting-related question New Zealanders have about the upcoming election is "who should I vote for".

It's closely followed by "when did women get the vote in NZ" - September 19 1893, for the curious. 

Kiwis are also Googling things like "what is a referendum" and "who will win the 2020 election NZ" - a question on most of the country's lips in the lead up to October.

What do Kiwis care about?

The top political topics searched by New Zealanders in the past seven days are coronavirus, tax, education, jobs, immigration, health care and the economy.

The data shows coronavirus is most commonly searched, with tax spiking in interest following Labour's tax policy announcement on Wednesday. 

Economy languishes near the bottom of the list, neck and neck with health care.

While Google Trends make for interesting reading they are by no means a scientific poll.

It doesn't mean the most Googled party is somehow the best, or "winning" - just that people are searching them. The data should always be considered as one part of a larger picture - not the picture itself.