Online Searches Suggest How UK Will Vote On EU Referendum

Duncan MacRae is former editor and now a contributor to TechWeekEurope. He previously edited Computer Business Review's print/digital magazines and CBR Online, as well as Arabian Computer News in the UAE.

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UK citizens are hungry for facts as they prepare to make informed decisions on the European Union (EU)

Yesterday marked 100 days until UK citizens will vote in a referendum to decide if the nation will remain in the European Union (EU) or not.

The referendum also happened to be referenced umpteen times by George Osborne throughout yesterday’s Budget announcement. So do we want to be in or out?

Search engine data

Hitwise, a division of Connexity, has shed some light on the mood of the nation by examining what we’ve been Googling.

The results give an insight into how UK voters are learning about the pros and cons of the EU and how they hope to make informed decisions.

search-engine-lData regarding searches around the Referendum (UK searches across the time period of February 14 – March 12, 2016) suggests UK citizens are still unclear about what the decision will mean for us, but different ages are turning to different websites to make their decisions.

· 18- to 25-year-olds are five times more likely to search for ‘EU Referendum Wiki’ than 55+ year olds , who instead opt for the ‘BBC News Referendum’ (167 percent more likely to search ‘BBC News Referendum’ compared to 18- 25-year-olds)

· But it’s men who are the true fact finders, according to Hitwise, searching for phrases such as ‘question’, ‘facts’ and ‘odds’, over 100 percent more so than females.

· 18- 25-year-olds appear to be the most eager to make their vote count in the referendum as 33 percent are more likely to be searching to ‘register to vote’, than those 55+.

· Keen to keep up to date with the referendum’s most recent developments, the younger generation (18- 25-year-olds) are nine times more likely to search for the ‘latest’ EU Referendum opinion than those aged 55+.

· However, this older group of searchers (55+) are still trying to get their head around the news, searching five times more for ‘EU Referendum explained’ than their younger counterparts.

· Interestingly, Men are gamifying the socially significant event, turning to betting to make their decision clear – searches for ‘referendum betting’ were four times than that of women, with the 55+ year olds searching 118 percent more so than Gen Y (18- 25-year-olds)

· Finally, ‘Boris Johnson’ appears to be resonating with the older generation in the run up to the EU Referendum, with 55+ year olds searching five times more than those aged between 18 to 25. Interestingly, it’s men who dominate these searches, and are 122 percent more likely to search for London’s Mayor than females.

Nigel Wilson, MD at Hitwise, a division of Connexity, said: “Socially significant events such as the EU Referendum are prime examples that show how living data, reflected by how we behave online, differs dramatically by audience gender and age.

“Today marks the 100 day countdown and it is clear from our data that audiences are still trying to fact find and educate themselves on the impending Brexit decision. We expect this hunger for information to increase as we draw closer.”

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