Hitwise on The Australian Election: Care…

Hitwise on The Australian Election: Care Factor…0?

Edition 1 of 3

Written By Alice Almeida

I was once told by an American that Australian’s aren’t a very passionate bunch. I immediately got on the defensive and proudly informed him that Australian’s are passionate about many things. Coffee, beer, wine, footy, surfing… And before I had time to mention Jimmy Barnes and John Farnham, he laughed and said “no, I mean on the important issues like politics”. My response “oh, that…”

This happened a few years ago but it’s one of those conversations that sticks. Given I love to prove people wrong, I have been trying to find things to debunk his whole perception of Aussies. Every time I find a group who are incredibly passionate about politics, it’s most certainly the minority. In fact, I can find more people who watch The Bachelor than those who are passionate about politics in Australia. And usually those who have the ‘passion’ is because they are fighting a cause.

So with the election coming up, I decided to suss out whether Aussies really do care about it. I asked a few people and the responses I got where not overwhelmingly positive. “I plan a holiday every election” “I’d rather cop the fine” or “It’s like you’re being asked which you’d rather have cut off, an arm or a leg?” Only one person stood strongly and said they knew exactly who they were voting for. I immediately pounced on this and asked who and what the reason was and was told “Malcolm because he’s hot” Yep. I was struggling to find anyone who knew confidently who they were voting for and why (and not because Malcolm is ‘hot’). Do we really not care? Given I am someone who cares about politics and the direction this country is going, I wanted to find out if I am on my own.

In my role at Hitwise, a Division of Connexity I was able to dig around in search and behavioural data to see if I was on my own and well, it turns out my friend isn’t the only one who thinks Malcolm Turnbull is… hot. We’ll get to that… Let’s start with the good stuff.

Do we even care? Are we actively seeking out election information online? Are we tracking the policies that each party are swearing to stand by? Well, if we weren’t so distracted by the car crash that is the US presidential election, then maybe we would. The number one search term using the word ‘election’ was ‘US election’. Within the top 10 election searches, the US took out #6 and #10. The Philippine election even registered – falling at #5 (perhaps registering for the wrong reasons though…) The fact that international elections are not only taking top spot but holding a great share of search volume is, to say the least, worrying. There are many reasons it could be – we search by party not by event, we know who we’ll vote for (sadly, data is proving this is not the case), or we just don’t care.

In trying to understand leaders and parties, I decided to start with basics and look at website traffic to each individual party; Labor, Liberal and Greens (Sorry Fishing party, you’ll be part of the next analysis). This analysis in itself showcased an interesting stat. In this past week, http://www.liberal.org.au/ saw almost 28,000 visits, http://www.alp.org.au/ saw double with almost 60,000 visits BUT the clear winner for visits was surprisingly the Greens Party with http://www.greens.org.au/ attracting 115,000 visits for this past week! Almost double that of Labor. So surely if this was a popularity vote, the Greens would win?  Is it because Australian’s are frustrated at the tug of war between labor and liberal that they are looking elsewhere? Is it because the Greens stand for policies that many Australian’s support? Or is it because the media team within the Greens Party are better at driving people to their website? I’ll delve into this in edition 2 due out next Tuesday, 28th June.

Continuing on with the parties, lets now look at what search terms Australian’s used when wanting more information on each party. It’s very important to note here that many Australians spell ‘Labor’ incorrectly, in fact almost half of all ‘Labor Party’ searches went in as ‘Labour Party’ which is probably why they always go by ALP, even in their url!  Below I have listed the actual top 5 searches for each party. The Greens are the only party whose policies are part of Australian searches. Is this their strength or weakness? Again, I cover that in next week’s edition.


So we’ve looked at the election overall and the individual parties, so it only makes sense to now look at the leaders and see what Australian’s want to know or see about our leaders of this country. I don’t think I need to explain much about the results. I’ll just showcase the top 10 search terms for each leader and you can come up with your own conclusion. I will say this, it seems that Australians are more interested in the personal aspect of their leaders, rather than the serious factors which is why you should be voting them in…


The above are just the top 10. There are hundreds more for each leader and when you do a full analysis, it alarmed me to see that their positioning on certain controversial policies, such as asylum seekers, same sex marriage and climate change didn’t even register. Do these things not matter to Australian’s? What are the policies of interest for each party? Why is it that Zingers for Bill Shorten and images of him running with apparent ‘man boobs’ is getting more impact than the potential sale of Medicare?

There are stacks of questions that still remain unanswered, so next week I will delve into the policies, party supporters and who stands for what.

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