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Are UKIP racist? and other questions populate Google Search Terms surrounding the General Election..

With the dissolution of Parliament at the beginning of last week the 2015 General Election is officially underway, so we can expect the political parties that make up the race for power this year to dominate the headlines. While the political heavyweights have been slogging it out in leader debates members of the electorate have been busy putting in their own research about the parties, and thanks to the latest search statistics from Google we can see just what the British electorate are asking about each political party.

The most eyebrow raising (and frankly the least surprising) is the top search including the term ‘UKIP’, which came out as ‘are UKIP racist?’ Other interesting searches include ‘what promises did Lib Dems give up?’ and somewhat worryingly (for the level of knowledge of our political system at least), ‘who is the leader of the Conservatives?’

The most popular search results from Google certainly make for an interesting insight into the minds of the British electorate, especially when wider parties outside of the so called big three are considered. When data for search terms that included the word ‘policies’ was collected it revealed that the most popular search term was ‘UKIP policies’, which shows that voters who may have heard the drone of ‘UKIP, UKIP, UKIP’ in the media without actually hearing much about their policies have had their interest piqued by the eurosceptic’s offerings.

The top 10 search terms that included the word ‘policies’ are as follows:

  1. Ukip policies
  2. Green party policies
  3. Labour policies
  4. Conservative policies
  5. BNP policies
  6. SNP policies
  7. DUP policies
  8. Lib Dem policies
  9. Sinn Féin policies
  10. FUKP policies (The anti-UKIP party headed by comedian Al Murray)

The number of smaller parties that make up this list is somewhat telling, with this election being billed as one that will feature more than the typical establishment parties. Of course one red flag in this data is the fact the term BNP policies is so far up the list, especially considering the fact that the party has never really been known for circulating any sort of coherent policies, it also seems strange that they came in fifth in the search rankings when they have been a complete afterthought in the run up to this election, even more in 2015 than ever before.

Good news for Farage and his UKIP colleagues is the fact that search terms for ‘UKIP’ way outranked terms for any other party on the night of the televised leaders’ debate on the 2nd of April.

It is when the Google search data for specific political parties is analysed that a more telling picture of British voter’s opinion can be formulated.

Search terms for Cameron's Conservatives don't reveal much in the minds of the electorate
Search terms for Cameron’s Conservatives don’t reveal much in the minds of the electorate

When search queries that include the major player of the current coalition, the Conservatives, are correlated the following questions appear as most popular:

  1. Why are the Conservative party called Tory?
  2. Who is the Conservative party?
  3. How many Tory MPs are there in Scotland?
  4. Who is the leader of the Conservative party?
  5. How do I join the Conservative party?

There’s not too much to draw from the questions here, no particular telling signs of an electorate searching for something specific within the Tory party, except for maybe the question regarding Scotland, which underlines the Conservative’s poor showing in the North of the UK – there’s also the fact that some searchers aren’t aware that our current Prime Minister is the leader of the Conservative Party, but this maybe says more about disillusionment with politics generally as opposed to the Conservatives more specifically.

When looking at the opposition Labour’s search terms show a more grassroots type of questioning from the electorate, as they returned the following queries as most popular:

  1. Why should I vote Labour?
  2. How many Labour MPs are there in Scotland?
  3. What does the Labour party stand for?
  4. Who is the leader of the Labour party?
  5. How do I become a Labour MP?

The fifth most popular question shows a lot about the Labour Party, typically seen as the party for the everyday Brit the fact that a question about how to become a Labour MP ranks highly adds weight to argument that they are a more grassroots organisation than their Conservative counterparts.

When looking at coalition partner, the Lib Dems, a harrowing five years on the fringes of power has clearly left a mark on the electorate, as the most popular questions about the Lib Dems were:

  1. What have the Lib Dems done in government?
  2. Which party are the Lib Dems most similar to?
  3. How much influence have the Lib Dems had in the coalition?
  4. What promises did the Lib Dems give up?
  5. What are Lib Dem policies?

Nick Clegg has clearly tried to distance himself from the policies of his coalition brethren at the start of this election campaign but it looks like he has a tough job on his hands making the electorate separate the Lib Dems of pre-2010 with the party that went back on promises to have a sniff of power in a ruling government.

Farage may be concerned  to discover that the top search term for his party is 'Are UKIP Racist?'
Farage may be concerned to discover that the top search term for his party is ‘Are UKIP Racist?’

One of the most intriguing enigmas of this election may be Farage’s so called ‘People’s Army’, UKIP, whose most popular search questions are:

  1. Are Ukip racist?
  2. Why should I not vote for Ukip?
  3. What do Ukip stand for?
  4. What will happen if Ukip win?
  5. What is the Ukip immigration policy?

The most popular query of ‘Are UKIP racist?’ is maybe the most telling term in this entire article, with the amount of racist gaffes and revelations of ex-BNP and National Front members involved in the party clearly raising concerns with electorate that are putting in their own research through Google.

Fringe parties SNP and the Greens may not be making up the headlines that UKIP have been demanding in the runup to this election but they look like they may form part of a coalition in the event of a hung parliament, here are the most popular terms for the Scottish nationalists and the environmentalist parties:

Top questions including the term ‘SNP’:

  1. What was the SNP manifesto when they first came to power?
  2. Where are the SNP getting their figures relating to the end of austerity?
  3. What are Alex Salmond’s biggest mistakes?
  4. How many SNP seats are there in Westminster?
  5. Can people live in London and vote for the SNP?

Top questions including the term ‘Green Party’:

  1. What are the Green party’s policies?
  2. How can I get involved in the Green party in the Cotswolds?
  3. Why should I vote for the Green party?
  4. How many votes does the Green party need to win?
  5. What does the Green party think about HS2?

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