Charts: Voters Might Not Care About the Midterm Elections, but the Internet Sure Does

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Polls show voter interest is way down in 2014, but the Internet tells a different story. Vox Efx/Flickr

Polls show voter interest in the 2014 midterm elections is significantly lower than interest in the midterms four years ago. Young voters have apparently slumped into apathy, and voters of all stripes simply do not appear to plan to turn out. Yet the Internet tells a different story. Internet activity, measured in news headlines and Google searches, was far higher leading up to this election that it was during the lead-up to the 2010 midterms.

Below is a graph charting mentions and searches since the beginning of the year that include the phrase "election 2014."

And here is a graph measuring "election 2010" instances from January to November, during the lead-up to the 2010 midterms:

Aside from a spike in November (which, importantly, includes results searches after the 2010 election day, which the 2014 graph does not), the 2010 lead-up appears relatively paltry in terms of internet activity.

It is important to note that in Internet time scales, four years is a generation, and the online media industry has expanded significantly since 2010. Even with that in mind, Internet chatter around the 2014 midterms is significantly elevated, which perhaps is our latest evidence that "trending" does not always translate into offline reality.