The Politics of Metrics…

Two weeks ago, Canada was thrust into a Federal election. Campaigns have been ramped up quickly, candidates are traveling across the country and the messages are getting out – especially with a new campaign promise every day.

A few months ago, I did a post about the pathetic state of visits to Canada’s three main political party websites – Liberals, Conservatives and the NDP. 14 days into the election here is how traffic to their respective sites has increased:

In the past 2 weeks, site traffic has increased dramatically and now the three sites are averaging a respectable 5-10K users per day. Although that isn’t many in the great scheme of things, at least we know that there is some interest in the content of the political parties…even if that current interest only represents a tiny, tiny percentage of the population.

If we compare the chart above with the party Search terms, we can see a similar trend:

The Liberals, on both accounts, are winning in terms of website traffic and search share. What interests me, however, is that a number of recent polls show them substantially behind the conservatives. In fact, the Globe and Mail has a recent poll that shows the Conservatives a whopping 12 points ahead of the Liberals.

Why then, are visits and searches to the Liberal site higher? One possible answer could be demographics. Liberal voters are traditionally younger and in urban centers and that could result in higher internet usage than the rural, older conservative base.

Still, it’s interesting to compare digital data to polling to help predict what will happen in the next 4 weeks.

Oh, and if you really want a refresher on the state of Canadian politics, let’s just take a quick look at Barack Obama and John McCain’s website traffic over the last year:

Even if we apply the 1-10 rule, we still don’t compare with the over 400K unique visits to Obama’s website per day. To put that in perspective in Canada, that’s double the daily traffic that Ebay.ca gets.

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