What party is ScoMo in? What is a corflute? Who should I vote for and who will win? The top Google searches of the Australian election

With just over a week until polling day in the federal election, people are still searching Google for the answer to questions such as “which party is ScoMo in?” and “who should I vote for?”.

In week five of the campaign, the top breakout search according to trend data provided by Google is the one on everyone’s mind: “Who is winning?”

But during Sunday’s debate on Channel Nine, people were also asking what party Morrison is in, when he became prime minister and “how do you define a woman, ScoMo?”.

Search interest in “Scott Morrison transgender” has tripled in the past seven days, as the prime minister backed in the Warringah Liberal candidate, Katherine Deves, over her retracted apology for offensive comments about transgender children.

Dr Glenn Kefford, a lecturer in political science at the University of Queensland, said many voters only paid close attention to politics around key moments in the electoral cycle.

“As the polls are now open, this is the time that voters are starting to think seriously about their decision,” Kefford said. “The decisions that voters make are often guided by partisan leanings as well as perceptions of political leaders.”

He said people may have been searching for what party Morrison is in because he “is one of the more polarising figures in Australian federal politics in recent years and it appears that many voters have made their minds up about him”.

“Searching for ‘what party ScoMo is in’, suggests voters want to know that information to know who to vote or not to vote for,” he said.

The top trending questions on Anthony Albanese were what school he went to, where he was on a given day, and how to pronounce his name. (He used to rhyme it with ease, but now rhymes it with easy.)

As prepolling opened on Monday, people began searching for their nearest booth, as well as “reasons to vote early”. That search more than tripled in the past week, although in South Australia and Western Australia people were still searching more for postal voting than prepoll voting places.

People were also searching for information about what a donkey vote is and whether it counts as a vote. A donkey vote is where people number the candidates from top to bottom (or vice versa) in numerical order. It counts as a valid vote.

It is different from an informal vote, which means the ballot was not marked or was not marked correctly.

Kefford said people searching for donkey voting could mean voters were dissatisfied with the options, or just generally trying to understand how voting worked.

“I think that’s a good thing,” he said.

Over the past few weeks the top search result has been ABC’s Vote Compass. Kefford said the search shows many voters are undecided, as indicated by the polls.

“What we know from the political science literature is that some of these voters will probably still return to one of the major parties, while others are open to alternatives we are seeing emerge across the country,” he said. “Second, that for many voters, this election may be decided on how they view Morrison.”

Perhaps owing to a number of stories about fake corflutes or corflutes being vandalised or pulled down – and in Goldstein subject to a legal battle – searches related to corflutes have almost doubled since the 2016 election, with the top search being “what is a corflute”.

Searches are also looking to possible post-election scenarios, including how a hung parliament would work.

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