Political Trend Watching in Canada



June 13, 2008

There are some interesting tools out there to quantitatively measure what people are interested in. What people put into a search engine is a good indicator of how much relative interset there is in a particular term. In reading the Wall Street Journal article Can Google Trends Predict The Election?  I thought it was worth looking again at the political scene up here in Canada.  I had taken a look at this when it seemed like we would be heading into an election in the fall. We're still waiting for the Conservatives to fall, but thought that I'd toss up some pretty graphs.

Political Names

Trend History based on "conservatives, liberals, ndp, greens, Bloc Quebecois". I've attached the CSV file from this 12 month view to this page for comparison.

Leader Names

Trend History based on "stephen harper, Stephane Dion, jack layton, elizabeth may, Gilles Duceppe". It is interesting how accents affect the search. I don't think that these transliterate and so Stéphane is always at a bit of a disadvantage.

Political Parties

Trend History based on "conservative party, liberal party, new democratic party, green party, bloc quebecois". There is also a big difference between NDP and New Democratic Party in these search returns. Really not sure how non-Green Party green searches get factored in either. How do you throw a green party for instance?

There are certainly other metrics for things like video downloads from various parties, Alexa ratings and others. What are the electronic indicators that you think may be good signs of who has an advantage in the next election?

About The Author

Mike Gifford is the founder of OpenConcept Consulting Inc, which he started in 1999. Since then, he has been particularly active in developing and extending open source content management systems to allow people to get closer to their content. Before starting OpenConcept, Mike had worked for a number of national NGOs including Oxfam Canada and Friends of the Earth.