Suchströme by Moritz Stefaner (Truth & Beauty), Dr. Alice Thudt, and Dr. Matthias Stahl

The project Suchströme (=search streams) reveals the top search trends on Google related to the German election 2021. In a series of interactive graphics, people can explore and compare the search interest in Germany’s major parties and current political topics.

The focus lies on direct comparisons to emphasize the race between parties and political topics. What generates more interest in Germany, COVID-19 or sustainability, racism or unemployment, the Green party or the CDU? The key visual puts such direct comparisons front and center. Two lines each show the interest in a topic over 12 months. The filled areas between the curves highlight the difference between the topics and which topic is in the lead.

In addition to comparing parties and topics against each other, Suchströme includes temporal comparisons, showing the same party over the last two election years 2017 and 2021. This allows people to explore questions like: How did the search interest in the major parties change compared to the last election? Who wins and who loses interest? Using the same visual numerous other comparisons can be envisioned.

For each comparison featured on the page, we also included downloads for sharing on social media, as images or video.

We saw some similarities between media coverage and search interest but also some interesting outliers. For instance, Germany's right-wing party AfD is still searched for the most, despite losing votes compared to the 2020 election. The topic Climate Change was only on the 29th place among the political topics we chose for Suchströme. However, Sustainability or Renewable Energy are searched for more often, suggesting that people are more interested in solutions rather than the topics that relate to the problem more broadly such as Climate Change or Environmental Problems.