Google reveals South Africa’s mindset before 2019 elections

warrenski iec elections south africa 2019

It’s election week, South Africa. Do you know who you’re crossing on your ballot? Well, if you don’t, you still have a few days to decide.

Those who still haven’t a clue are also taking to Google, it seems. The digital oracle has seen a boatload of election-related queries from users in South Africa, and some of those shed light on just how confused and undecided we all are.

‘What is democracy?’

Google notes that, first and foremost, people want to ensure they’re getting another public holiday this Wednesday. “Is election day a public holiday?” is the search engine’s top query this week.

“When is election day” and “where to vote for elections” are two questions that suggest some might actually turn up at the polls on Thursday.

In terms of party popularity, “will EFF win the 2019 elections” features more prominently than “who will win the 2019 elections” and “will the ANC win the 2019 elections”. These are the only two parties to feature on Google’s general search query hot hit list.

Other questions include how many parties will contest the elections, how many and when was the last edition of elections, and, more worryingly, “what is democracy”. Well, actually, that’s probably the best question of the lot.

See the full list below:

  1. Is election day a public holiday?

  2. When is election day 2019 South Africa?

  3. Where to vote for elections?

  4. Who to vote for in SA election 2019?

  5. Will EFF win 2019 elections?

  6. Who will win the 2019 elections?

  7. When was the first democratic election held in South Africa?

  8. How many parties are contesting for 2019 election?

  9. Will ANC win the 2019 elections?

  10. When was the last election in South Africa?

  11. Can I still register to vote for 2019 elections?

  12. How many elections since 1994?

  13. What is democracy?

  14. How many ballot papers for general election?

  15. How many parties to vote for?

The most popular South African political party on Google is…?

As for party popularity, it seems that the EFF, ANC and DA trends largely go against what we’ve seen on Twitter this year.

The ANC remains the most-searched for party in South Africa this week, followed by the EFF and the DA. Black First Land First (BLF) ranks fourth, while Freedom Front Plus (VF+), ACDP, and Good complete the top seven.

See the full list below:

  1. African National Congress

  2. Economic Freedom Fighters

  3. Democratic Alliance

  4. Black First Land First

  5. Freedom Front Plus

  6. African Christian Democratic Party

  7. Good

  8. Inkatha Freedom Party

  9. Congress of the People

  10. African Transformation Movement

President Vuyo Zungula?

Interestingly, the above list doesn’t quite represent party leaders’ popularity.

The EFF’s Julius Malema is the country’s most searched-for presidential candidate last week, followed by current ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. The DA’s Mmusi Maimane is third, while Vuyo Zungula, the leader of the African Transformation Movement, ranks a surprise fourth.

See the full list below:

  1. Julius Malema (EFF)

  2. Cyril Ramaphosa (ANC)

  3. Mmusi Maimane (DA)

  4. Vuyo Zungula (ATM)

  5. Mangosuthu Buthelezi (IFP)

  6. Patricia De Lille (Good)

  7. Andile Mngxitama (BLF)

  8. Hlaudi Motsoeneng (ACM)

  9. Bantu Holomisa (UDM)

  10. Mosiuoa Lekota (COPE)

Finally, which cities and provinces are most interested in this year’s elections? Surprisingly, the Northern Cape — South Africa’s least populated province — ranks third, behind Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. The Western Cape ranks fourth, but Cape Town is no where to be seen on the top ten cities. In fact, the only Western Cape city ranked is Stellenbosch in third.

Durban North is the city most interested in searching for info about the 2019 elections (even though KZN as a province ranks seventh overall). Randburg, Sandton and Centurion rank prominently, pushing Gauteng further up Google’s ranking.

Feature image: A polling station in Cape Town, by warrenski via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0, resized)

Andy Walker
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