European Council

In August we learned that Donald Tusk, current Polish prime minister will become the next President of European Council. At the same time Federica Mogherini was appointed as the next European Union’s policy chief. In this post I will check how that event influenced Wikipedia page views and compare Tusk and Morherini popularity with other potential candidates.
It’s hard to tell what exactly higher page views means. It can mean that given person is more popular and a lot of people is looking for some additional information regarding him/her. On the other hand it can mean that someone is less known and the election was more surprising. Looking on the results, I would say that the first option is more likely. See the results for Mogherini in Italian Wikipedia and Tusk on Polish — these are quite high values.
Who (Mogherini or Tusk) is more popular in which countries? Not surprisingly, Tusk has higher popularity in Eastern/Central European countries, so in the new EU members states, whereas Mogherini gained higher results in Western Europe. There is however something not obvious: Tusk had higher popularity in some North European countries and lower in Germany (he was regarded as German favourite candidate, maybe in this case reading about Mogherini was a result of surprise in Germany?).
What’s obvious, the strongest interest in those two candidates where in Italy and Poland. Other countries had much lower number of page views.
The popularity is defined here as a number of page views relative to the total number of page views for given Wikipedia.
One observation that surprised me is the popularity of Mogherini in Iran (Persian Wikipedia). I’m not sure how to explain it. Here compared with Arabic and Hebrew:


There were a few other candidates that were mentioned in the media before election. I chose the following three of them:

  • Enda Kenny
  • Radosław Sikorski
  • Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Let’s see the traffic on Wikipeida just before the elections. The chart below ends just before the final results were known to public (2014-09-30). You can see that Helle Thorning-Schmidt had some popularity in Danemark (as expected) and that Radosław Sikorski was popular on English Wikipedia (this is typical for him as well).
What’s interesting – the winners had growing popularity in the last days before election. Probably they were often mentioned at that time. Some other candidates had also growing trend but for Mogherini and Tusk it was much stronger.

Politics vs. pop culture

We have also keep in mind, that even though the matters of European Council were commented very frequently in the last couple of weeks, this election attracted much less attention (at least on Wikipeadia) than other pop culture events. Here we have Eurovision contest winner Conchita Wurst page views from May compared with the Federica Mogherini and Donald Tusk from August/September (election time).