What Google reveals about the current state of play in Eastleigh

The search results thrown up by Google often provide a neat little insight into what angles of a story are dominating coverage and people’s attention. The angles that get the most prominent coverage and the most interaction and responses are the ones that rise to the top of the search results. So what do they tell us about the current state of play in the Eastleigh by-election?

Eastleigh by-election - Google search resultsHere’s what Google’s top ten search results for eastleigh by-election (with the verbatim option turned on*) contain at the time of writing:

  1. Maria Hutchings and John O’Farrell (Conservative and Labour candidates in Eastleigh) have made controversial comments
  2. Maria Hutchings has made controversial comments
  3. Mike Thornton (the Lib Dem candidate) is favourite to win whilst Maria Hutchings and John O’Farrell have made controversial comments
  4. Maria Hutchings has made controversial comments
  5. Wikipedia entry for previous by-election
  6. Wikipedia entry for current by-election
  7. Maria Hutchings has made controversial comments
  8. Maria Hutchings has made controversial comments
  9. Maria Hutchings has made controversial comments
  10. One of my round-up blog posts on the by-election**

That makes for 7/10 entries being primarily or partly about controversial comments from Maria Hutchings.

I think we can file that in the ‘not going so well for the Conservatives’ pile.

 

* Google customises its search results based on where it thinks you are, who it thinks you are and what it thinks your track-record of searches are. This can be useful to figure out if your search for “golf” means the sport or the car. It also means different people can see very different search results. The verbatim option strips out all the customisation and shows you what the ‘underlying’ search results are before any personalisation is added to them.

** All my Eastleigh by-election round-up posts are available here, whilst don’t forget also Stephen Tall’s posts regularly reporting on the Eastleigh by-election which are here.

* Mark Pack has written 101 Ways To Win An Election and produces a monthly newsletter about the Liberal Democrats.

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7 Comments

  • I didn’t think Verbatim mode does remove all of that, instead it just searches for what you put in.

  • And something Google may not reveal on Twitter, which suggests Conservative Campaign Headquarters is coordinating a mini-smear through some of its carrier pigeons.
    http://labourlist.org/2013/02/tory-mps-send-identical-tweets-in-scripted-attack-on-lib-dem-candidate/

  • Mark – I was really talking about the geographical changes it makes, which I don’t think it removes (but then again i didn’t think it removed the previous history either, so I might be wrong).

  • Paul McKeown 17th Feb '13 - 9:14pm

    Use startpage.com; it uses Google, but it’s anonymised – you get search results without any bias due to search history. That amongst many other privacy benefits.

    Anyway, you’ll be delighted to learn from startpage that Maria Hutchings controversies dominate its search results on the Eastleigh by-election.

  • Speaking of Maria Hutchings, why is her campaign website still breaching Wikipedia’s Terms of Use by blatantly copying and pasting from it without attribution?

    For those who haven’t seen it, compare:
    http://www.vote4maria.co.uk/index.php/eastleigh
    with:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastleigh#History

    Even after this was pointed out on Twitter several days ago and was picked up by the Huffington Post and the Daily Mirror, her campaign obviously think they can get away with brazen plagiarism because it’s still right there on her campaign website.

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