Jun 6, 2022 - News

What Ohio voters are Googling ahead of 2022 midterms

A GIF of an interactive dashboard of Google Search trends by congressional district.
GIF: Jacque Schrag and Will Chase/Axios

Residents in Ohio's newly drawn 3rd Congressional District often seek out information about refugees and gay adoption.

  • Meanwhile, those in the new 15th District — which stretches into rural Ohio and, like the 3rd, includes part of Franklin County — are interested in news about gun legislation, infrastructure and allegations of voter fraud.

Driving the news: Axios launched an interactive dashboard last week of Google Trends data showing which topics are driving searches in each congressional district and how they compare with the rest of America.

Why it matters: This search data can be a revealing way to measure local relevance of a variety of political and social issues.

  • It can hint toward what drives voters' political activism and will motivate them to head to the voting booth this fall.

The big picture: The top search terms in our region won't surprise you: Jobs, taxes and wages are top of mind for Central Ohioans, along with the continuing war in Ukraine.

Ohio's new congressional district map, and a close-up of Franklin County.
Ohio's new congressional district map, with a close-up of Franklin County. The 3rd District is labeled, and the rest of the county is in the 15th District. Map courtesy the Ohio Redistricting Commission

🔥 Other hot topics in these districts:

  • 3rd: COVID vaccines, supply chain, Jan. 6/insurrection
  • 15th: Gas prices, elderly/disabled care, student loan forgiveness

❄️ Topics of relative disinterest:

  • 3rd: Cryptocurrency, school boards, Supreme Court
  • 15th: Border wall, police reform, climate change

Of note: The data, from May 16–23, precedes a rise in public attention to subjects like school safety and transgender athletes.

  • The region showed scant interest in the latter subject, but that may have changed since the Ohio House of Representatives passed a transgender sports ban last week.

💭 Tyler's thought bubble: As a politics and data nerd, I found it neat to bypass the noise of social media and check out what area residents actually want to learn more about.

  • One intriguing result: That gerrymandering isn't a bigger topic of interest given our state's high-stakes, never-ending redistricting process.
  • After a year of missed deadlines and court battles, I wonder if Ohioans are starting to tune out on that issue.

Explore the data or go deeper on some of the most-searched issues.

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