Here’s what Albertans have Googled related to the federal election

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Albertans are curious about the ages of federal political party leaders. 

The ages of Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, Elizabeth May, and Jagmeet Singh were the top Google searches in Alberta from Sept. 11 until 4 p.m. on Friday, according to Google Trends data. 

Albertans also wanted to know about Jagmeet Singh’s marital status and where Andrew Scheer was born during that same timeframe, according to the Google Trends data (listed below) provided to CBC News. 

“I understand that this might feel like the kind of information you might find on the back of a hockey card,” said Aaron Brindle, Google Trends expert with Google Canada.

“I think it’s encouraging to see Canadians engaging with information that is relevant to the leaders of the party, to learn more.”

Outpacing celebrities

Brindle said nationally, the Canadian political leaders have been Googled more than some celebrities such as Sidney Crosby, Justin Bieber, and Drake. 

“These are celebrities who generate an incredible amount of search interest. This tells us that the election is relevant,” he said. 

But Brindle said hockey still rules in the country. Searches related to the NHL were more popular than searches on the federal leaders.

Across the country, Google searches for U.S. President Donald Trump also outrank federal party leaders in this election.

“Searches for Donald Trump still outpace searches for Justin Trudeau by a margin of four to one. The election is relevant, it’s driving search interest, but there are other topics out there that Canadians are interested in,” Brindle said.  

In Alberta, Justin Trudeau was the most searched political party leader, followed by Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh. 

Google Canada does not provide specific numbers on how many times a certain keyword or question has been put into Google, Brindle said. 

Google Trends tracks the popularity of search terms and ranks them on a scale from zero to 100.

Advanced polls opened on Friday across the country. (Peter Power/The Canadian Press)

The list of Alberta’s search history doesn’t include all of the top queries, but it does include those search terms, questions and keywords that are frequently searched, he said.

Kathleen van Dusen, public relations instructor at MacEwan University, said it’s important to remember search engines like Google are descriptive, not prescriptive.

“They don’t tell us what is right, they only tell us what is popular,” she said.

Google Trends also suggest what people are curious about, said Melanee Thomas, an associate professor of political science at the University of Calgary. 

In Alberta’s case, that means some are interested in the leaders’ marital status and their ages.

“Some people are going to say this stuff is frivolous and that sophisticated, well-informed voters wouldn’t look at these things,” Thomas said.

But she said research has shown that’s not always the case.

“When people have high levels of political knowledge, they just take more knowledge into account. That means that people who have a lot of information about politics are using socio-demographic information about leaders and candidates as much as people — sometimes more — than people who don’t know much about politics.”

Election issues 

Cannabis, tax, education, healthcare and trade were the most searched political issues in Alberta, according to the Google Trends data.

The economy, pipeline transport and climate change rounded out the bottom of the top 10 searched keywords related to the election. 

Van Dusen and Thomas were both surprised pipelines and the economy were at the bottom but agreed there could be several reasons as to why.

“Voting behaviour is complicated. You make mistakes if you try to draw conclusions based only on the outcome on election day,” said Thomas.

“If you look at the list of issues, Albertans have diverse concerns.”

When the federal election is and who will win the election were some of the top questions posed to Google by Albertans over the same period. 

Overall, van Dusen said it’s encouraging that people are turning to search engines like Google to find out election information instead of relying only on social media.

“These [questions] do show a trend of getting more informed and that is good,” she said. 

“It fills me with hope that people are doing their best to become informed on the election. It’s great that they’re searching for information on potential political leaders rather than who is cut from this week’s reality show.”

According to Google Trends, when the federal election is was the most searched inquiry by Albertans related to the election. (Gabrielle Brown/CBC )

Google Trends data for Alberta

The below data on Alberta-based searches was provided by Google Trends to CBC News.

It is from the period of Sept. 11 to Oct. 11 as of 4 p.m. MST.

Top questions on political parties 

  1. Who is the NDP leader?

  2. What does NDP stand for?

  3. Who is the leader of the Conservative Party?

  4. Where was the NDP leader born?

  5. What does the NDP Party want to do for Canada?

  6. What have the Liberals done for the environment?

  7. What is the ideal of the Canadian Liberal Party platform?

  8. What is the leader of Alberta?

  9. What is the Liberal Party?

Top searched political party leaders 

  1. Justin Trudeau

  2. Andrew Scheer

  3. Jagmeet Singh

  4. Maxime Bernier

  5. Elizabeth May

Top questions on political party leaders 

  1. How old is Justin Trudeau?

  2. How old is Andrew Scheer?

  3. How old is Elizabeth May?

  4. How old is Jagmeet Singh?

  5. Is Jagmeet Singh married?

  6. Where was Andrew Scheer born?

  7. How old is Jagmeet Singh wife?

  8. Is Andrew Scheer married?

  9. How tall is Jagmeet Singh?

  10. Where is Andrew Scheer from?

Top searched political issues

  1. Cannabis

  2. Tax

  3. Education

  4. Health care

  5. Trade

  6. Crime

  7. Immigration

  8. Climate change

  9. Pipeline transport

  10. Economy

Top questions on elections

  1. When is the Canadian federal elections?

  2. Who will win the 2019 Canadian election?

  3. Who to vote for Canadian election?

  4. Where to vote for federal election 2019?

  5. How to register to vote in Canada?