Today is the day of the General Elections in the UK. It is purported to be one of the closest elections in decades, so undoubtedly voters (as well as the candidates themselves) will be on the edge of their folding chairs.
Coincidentally, there is another event captivating the nation’s attention: The birth of the royal princess, 2nd child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (also known as Prince William and the Princess Catherine). The new Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born on May 2, just when the general election race was really heating up.
Media attention began to turn away from the political race and towards the royal birth even before the Duchess went into labor. Interest in the royal baby continued to rise until after the Duke and Duchess revealed the new Princess’s name.
But which subject captivated Brits more? To find out, we examined top keyword driving traffic to some of the major British publications (including the Telegraph, the BBC and the Daily Mail) during the last 28 days.
Some baby-related keywords included terms such as “royal baby,” “royal baby name,” “kate middleton baby,” and “royal baby news.” Also on the list of top royal baby-related keyword traffic was a bizarre tweet from controversial British columnist Katie Hopkins, who joined in on speculation surrounding the princess’s name. “Fingers crossed for a Charlotte Diana. Prince William – vengeance is sweet my son xx.”
But the data doesn’t lie. By a slender majority, the Royal Baby wins!
It was close, though – the little princess won the popularity contest by roughly 9,000 estimated visits.
Keywords about the UK election driving traffic to various British media outlets included a variety of long-tail search terms such as “who should I vote for,” “russell brand ed miliband,” and “nigel farage plane crash.” The interview with Labour party candidate Ed Miliband by comedian and activist Russell Brand went viral and received overwhelmingly positive reviews from young people.
The search query Nigel Farage plane crash refers to the highly publicized air crash involving UK Independent Party candidate Nigel Farage, who crashed the plane he was piloting during a campaign stunt. Miraculously Farage survived the crash, though photographers eagerly swarmed in to capture several photos of the dazed and bloodied politician being pulled from the wreckage.
We also took a closer look at Google Trends to understand the keyword popularity patterns from the past 28 days.
As you can see, interest in the royal baby really explodes in the days leading up to the birth, and peaked once the birth was announced. Following the announcement of the new princess’s name, interest in the royal baby has begun to sharply decline.
By contrast, the UK elections have kept somewhat more stable interest, dipping and rising as the election has progressed. We expect another peak today and tomorrow as the elections come to a close and pollsters and pundits weigh in on the results.
While England is technically a constitutional monarchy, it’s fair to say the majority of the ruling decisions are delegated to the Prime Minister, with the Queen acting as head of state. But though the modern British monarchy is more of a symbol than an active political presence, it still has the power to capture the interest of millions, even overshadowing the general elections. In this case, the royal baby truly rules.