Tracking the 2010 UK election with Google Insights

We recently added a new page to the immediate future blog, a social media dashboard for the 2010 UK general election. The dashboard pulls together data from various sources to provide a quick visual overview of which of the three main political parties are generating the most conversations in online and social media.

We’re not claiming that this will predict the outcome or anything like that, but it certainly gives you an interesting snapshot of online buzz. We use a chart from Google Insights for Search to show the volume of online searches for the names of each of the three main party leaders, as this is a good indicator of the level of public interest in those people and their parties.

On the surface of it, there are no surprises in this chart – Gordon Brown comes out on top, as you’d expect since he’s the current prime minister, followed by David Cameron and then Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats.

If you look at the chart right now you’ll see that Gordon Brown has enjoyed quite a large spike in public interest from February 6th onwards. One of the great features of Insights for Search is that it allows us to see what caused this spike.

If you click through to the full report on Insights for Search, and scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will see a section which shows the most popular current searches that are related to Gordon Brown, as well as those which are rising fastest. Right now it looks like this.

What this tells us is that the phrases “Piers Morgan” and “Gordon Brown Interview” are currently popular and, by extension, Morgan’s TV interview with the Prime Minister is generating interest amongst the public.

This is a great tool because it lets you pick a topic (in this case the PM) and find out what the trending issues associated with that topic are, and this allows us to really get a feel for what the public is interested in. During the run up to the election, we’ll continue to monitor these trending topics and report back on the most interesting issues.

Additionally, if you look at the top search terms related to David Cameron, most of them revolve around the recent ‘roll your own David Cameron poster’ meme – some food for thought, for the Conservative leader’s PR team. Perhaps worse for Nick Clegg, there are no related searches at all – not surprising given the low volume of interest compared to his rivals.

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