Nov 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

What Americans Googled most the week before the midterm elections

Data: Google Trends; Maps: Jacque Schrag and Will Chase/Axios
Data: Google Trends; Maps: Jacque Schrag and Will Chase/Axios

Three highly competitive congressional seats — Iowa's 3rd, Nevada's 3rd and Nebraska's 2nd — were among the top 10 districts searching about abortion in the week leading up to Election Day, according to the final installment of Axios' Google Trends Midterms Dashboard.

Why it matters: The dashboard provides insight into what issues Americans are thinking about the most as they head to the polls Tuesday, with more than 40 million ballots already cast early.

The big picture: Democrats focused a significant amount of money and attention on abortion rights as a top campaign message, counting on a wave of momentum after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June to help stave off major losses.

  • Google searches nationwide about abortion have risen in the past week, potentially providing a sliver of hope for Democrats in some districts and states.
  • Abortion now ranks 14th among all issues tracked — higher than gas prices and inflation, but just below crime and immigration at the border.

Americans also searched terms related to Donald Trump more than in the past couple of weeks, likely tied to reporting that he plans to announce a 2024 bid this month.

  • Interest in Russia and Ukraine has been steadily declining for weeks now, although both still landed in the nationwide top 10.
  • As has been the case since the Axios project began, interest in jobs, taxes, wages and firearms have remained at or near the top of the list.

Zoom in: Just as a resurgence in attention on abortion could be helpful for Democrats in some competitive districts, crime has proved to be an effective battleground issue for Republicans.

  • Colorado's 8th District, North Carolina's 1st and California's 3rd are competitive races and landed in the top 10 for search volume around crime in the past week.
  • Four out of the top five districts Googling terms related to health care — long a top Democratic priority — were in North Carolina: the 12th District, 10th, 14th and 8th.
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