Who does Google like the most – Julia or Tony?

Google is being used for respectable academic research on issues like economic activity and health epidemics (for example, see this paper on how the recession in the US is impacting concern for the environment), so I thought I’d see how Julia Gillard is faring in terms of internet interest compared with Tony Abbott.

The first graph compares Google searches on ‘Gillard’ (red) and ‘Abbott’ (blue) over the last 30 days (up to August 1) within Australia.

Google says the numbers on the graph “reflect how many searches have been done for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. They don’t represent absolute search volume numbers, because the data is normalized and presented on a scale from 0-100. Each point on the graph is divided by the highest point, or 100. When we don’t have enough data, 0 is shown”.

The average interest in the PM over the entire period is about twice that of the Leader of the Opposition. This ratio also holds when searches are looked at over the seven days ending Sunday. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Gillard is doing better – perhaps the interest simply reflects her “newness” to the job. Not clear what’s really being measured here but if the adage that any publicity is better than none has any validity then I’d rather be in her shoes than Abbott’s!

The second graph shows searches on ‘Gillard’ by State. Queenslanders seem to be quite interested in the PM even though she’s not faring well there in the polls.

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