Everyone (okay, everyone like me) wants an idea of who's going to win this year's Federal Election. There are several ways to get an idea; the traditional indicator of the Newspoll results or the more sporting analyst can look at the latest odds being offered by Sportsbet.
But if you want a gauge of what the mood is out amongst the general public, you can't go past the Google Election Indicator.
Like every narcissistic blogger, I'm always watching my sitemeter to see where the visits to my blog are coming from, and especially the searches people have made to lead them here. I've noticed a new trend lately: people are actually seaching for terms such as "Australia after Howard" or "End of Howard government". There seems to be a sense in the online community at least that this really is Labor's election to win, and the Howard era is coming to an end. I certainly didn't see anything like it before the 2004 election.
Of course, I don't want to overstate the importance of this; a person seaching for "Howard doing great job" or "Government win election" is hardly likely to end up at this blog (unless of course they're searching sarcastically). And overall my hit count is too low to definitively monitor social changes. Nonetheless, it's an interesting little phenomenon I will definitley keep an eye on.