Google India has released a new study titled ‘Urban Indian Voters’, which says 37 percent of urban Indian registered voters are online. The study, conducted to understand the impact of the Internet in the Lok Sabha elections 2014, covers 108 constituencies, representing 20% of the total constituencies and underscores the role of the Internet in influencing citizens when it comes to the decision to cast their votes.
The study covered 41000 people, with a focus on 7042 respondents who were registered voters in the same constituency and are active users of Internet. About 68 percent of the respondents were in the age group of 18-35.
Google says both party and local candidate got equal weightage from the urban Indian voters in terms of influence on their voting decision. About 35 percent said their decision will be based on the party and 36 percent said local candidate matters to them. Interestingly, 11 percent said the Prime Ministerial candidate of the political party will play an important role in their final voting decision. In the west, the preference for the local candidate was the highest at 45 percent and was the lowest in east at 27 percent. These findings were consistent across all age groups.
Speaking about the study, Rajan Anandan, Vice President and Managing Director, Google India, said “A significant population of registered urban Indian voters are now online and spend an equal amount of time on online and offline media. The findings reveal that the Internet will play an important role in influencing the large undecided urban Indian population in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. There is an opportunity for political parties and candidates to engage the urban Indian youth on the Internet. From Google’s perspective, we are already seeing a massive growth in elections related search queries.”
Voters were not satisfied with the information about political candidates on the Internet at this stage. They feel they will be more empowered to take decision about candidates whose information is easily available online. In terms of wish list, 45 percent urban India voters said, that they would like to see more information about political parties on the Internet to help them make an informed decision. 57 percent said they would like to see information on local issues. 48 percent said they would like to see updates on development activities undertaken in the constituency and 43 percent said they wanted to see information on party manifesto.
The respondents also said that they would like to actively engage with the politicians online and politicians should allow citizens to comment online and also respond to their comments on social media platforms. Political leaders with strong online presence were perceived as progressive and dynamic. A very high percentage of respondents (65 percent) said that they do not actively share their political views on social media platforms.
Over 1/3rd of the urban Indian voters consciously start looking for elections / politics related information more than 3 months prior to the elections. This was in line with the search trends on Google. Elections related search queries on Google start peaking 3 to 4 months in advance and there was 500% growth in the overall query volumes during the last Lok Sabha elections. This year though with growing Internet penetration, there is 800 percent growth in the query volume already. Mobile is becoming an important source of accessing the Internet with 25% election related query coming from mobile phones.
In addition to the survey, Google takes a look at the elections and politics related Google search trends for the last 6 months: 1 March 2013 to 31 August 2013
Most searched politicians in the last 6 months:
Most Searched Political Parties:
Bharatiya Janata Party
Indian National Congress
Aam Aadmi Party
Bahujan Samajwadi Party
Top elections related ‘how to’ queries:
How to get election card
How to find electoral roll number
How to get election card online
How to vote
How to track/check status of election card