Google News Initiative

The Google News Initiative is taking a closer look at what voters across the country are searching for ahead of the midterm elections come November.

If the television ads, media coverage and dinner table debates aren't telling enough, the midterm elections are just a few short weeks away. 

Google News Initiative, a journalism-focused program, is taking a close look at what voters across the country are searching ahead of the November midterm elections. 

The initiative has launched a Google Trends midterm page to track county-level data on the top issues searched in each region, such as the economy, healthcare and immigration, among others, according to a Google blog post. The tool is technically designed to help local journalists hone in on local issues, but it also sheds light on real-time data and the curiosities of local voters. 

The data isn't broken down by city, but it does offer a countywide analysis. 

In the past week, Google users in Scott, Carver and Hennepin counties have had high search interest in Democrat gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz — more so than his opponent Republican Jeff Johnson. 

And here's a look at search interest of "vote Democrat" verses "vote Republican" across Minnesota: 

The tool also tracks search interest by topic, including searches related to health care, immigration, tariffs, abortion and guns. Google users in Scott, Carver and Hennepin counties all showed interest in health care, much like the rest of the state. Neighboring Le Sueur County showed high search interest in immigration in the past week. 

This map shows the most-searched party over the last 12 months. The Republican Party has been the most-searched in Scott, Carver and Hennepin counties. 

The Google News Initiative does provide a disclaimer on its website, though: "Search data is an indication of curiosity in the subject or candidate. It should not be considered an indication of voter intent." If a topic is spiking, it might never be known why, but the tool offers some insight into the curiosity of the day. 

Digital content coordinator

Rachel Minske is a regional editor and digital content coordinator at Southwest News Media. She's passionate about in-depth reporting and digital audiences. She's a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and enjoys exploring Minnesota.

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