Google reveals Danes’ record appetite for general election news

Election-related searches hit an all-time high on Danish Google in the run up to this week’s general election.

Google reveals Danes' record appetite for general election news
Photo: Google screengrab

“Whom should I vote for?” was, unexpectedly, one of the most common searches, as was “What are election placards made from?”, perhaps reflecting both the prolific use of the placards by all parties and the concern for the environment which was high on the agenda of much of the electorate.

Photo: Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix

In general, searches related to the election were more frequent in the 2019 cycle than in any previous year, according to analysis conducted by Google.

“(The election) has very much driven people’s interest. We can see this in the way people have been searching,” Google Denmark head of communication Jesper Vangkilde said.

“We have just been through an exciting and tense general election. And Google is a reflection of reality and what people are thinking. You can see that in Danes’ Google searches,” Vangkilde continued.

Compared to the 2015 election, there were 56 percent more election-related searches during the lead up to the vote, and a 69 percent increase on 2011. The figure does not include searches related to the May 26th European elections.

“People were extremely interested in taking online tests to find out the positions of the individual parties,” Vangkilde said.

“We could also see during the election cycle that when there were (party leader) debates, for example, people were very keen to find information while (the debates) were going on,” he added.

The private lives of the election’s lead protagonists were also the subject of intense interest amongst internet searchers.

Mette Frederiksen, Pernille Skipper and Anders Samuelsen were among commonly-searched terms in combination with the Danish words for ‘partner’ (kæreste), ‘spouse’ (ægtefælle) or ‘children’ (børn).

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Who do Denmark’s right-wing parties want to be prime minister?

Conservative parties in Denmark must now decide who their favoured prime ministerial candidate will be, with to party leaders declared as candidates for the job.

Who do Denmark’s right-wing parties want to be prime minister?

Denmark will have three candidates for prime minister in the next election – a change from the usual two – after Søren Pape Poulsen, the leader of the Conservative party, said on Monday that that he will stand as a PM candidate in the next general election.

Poulsen’s declaration on Monday means there are now two leaders from right wing parties in Denmark with an expressed aim of securing backing as prime minister following the next general election. The other is the Liberal (Venstre) party leader, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen.

The third candidate is the incumbent, Social Democrat Mette Frederiksen, who commands the support of left-wing parties.

Poulsen’s announcement means smaller right-wing parties will have to decide who they would ultimately back to be prime minister.

It is unlikely the situation would hand the election to Frederiksen, as the right-wing parties can be expected to eventually align behind one of Ellemann-Jensen or Poulsen should they have an overall majority after the next election.

The leader of the Liberal Alliance, a libertarian party which currently has three seats in parliament, told news wire Ritzau his party was yet to decide on a preferred candidate.

“It’s still too early to say for us. Primarily because it’s actually unclear to me what their visions actually are,” Alex Vanopslagh said.

Another conservative party, the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, is also yet to decide on its support, but leader Morten Messerschmidt welcomed Poulsen’s candidacy.

“It means something – who is the safest hand to lead Denmark through an uncertain time. And that’s what we’re going to have some good talks about, and I won’t be announcing anything here today,” he said.

“But I can just say that I’m very happy that Søren Pape has entered the ring,” he said.

READ ALSO: Danish Conservative leader confirms plan to become prime minister

Vanopslagh however said that Poulsen’s announcement “does not make a positive impression when [he] has waited for so long”, leaving Liberal leader Ellemann-Jensen to “take the flack” as opposition leader through a difficult period.

Pernille Vermund, leader of the far-right Nye Borgerlige (New Right) party, said she would not announce which of the two her party will back until after the election.

“Politically I’m probably a bit closer to Søren Pape Poulsen, but on the other hand the last three years have given me a good impression that if you make an agreement with Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, you can trust the Liberal party,” she said.

Vermund also called for clear statements from both party leaders on their immigration policies.

The announcement by the Conservative leader has disrupted the established order in the ‘bloc’ system which usually prevails in Danish politics.

The ‘bloc’ classification commonly broadly denotes whether parties are right or left of centre.

Recent decades have seen the ‘blue bloc’ parties work together in parliament to back the leader of the Liberal party, currently Ellemann-Jensen, to be prime minister if they command a majority after a general election.

The next election in Denmark must take place no later than June 4th next year, but recent speculation has suggested Frederiksen is likely to call an election as soon as this autumn.

A recent Voxmeter poll for news wire Ritzau gave the Liberal party 13.4 points, compared to 13.3 points for the Conservatives. The poll gave an overall conservative majority.

READ ALSO: How likely is Denmark to have a general election ahead of schedule?