Under Jacinda, Labour Kiwis Can Fly
Interest in New Zealand's general election, scheduled for September 23, topped the Scoreboard this week. The lead story continues to be Labour's comeback since Jacinda Ardern
became party leader on July 31. The charismatic 37-year-old MP has electrified what was a predictable race expected to keep the National Party in government. Since Ardern took over, Labour has sustained a commanding lead over National in our digital campaign scores
, suggesting the Jacinda effect was no flash in the pan. Opinion polls also show a tight race.
If You Can't Take the Heat, Put Down the FT
All but four of the 33 stories we are currently tracking here at the Digital Aspect saw their Scoreboard figures fall this past week, a sign that markets are taking a break from geopolitical news during the August holiday season. Even highly volatile issues that dominated recent news cycles (e.g. the North Korean nuclear standoff, the Venezuelan Crisis) and issues poised to grab headlines come September (e.g. the German election, the U.S. debt ceiling) decreased significantly. We expect things to pick back up over the next two weeks as fund managers and punters trade in their beach towels for desk chairs.
More Meddling from Moscow?
Another of the few Scoreboard climbers this week was Russian Election Meddling. With Germany's federal election a month away, concerns are mounting that Moscow may again interfere to tilt the playing field, as it probably did in the United States
. Throughout June, as global market interest in the German election waned, traffic around Russian-language sources related to Germany reached its highest level in more than four months (see the chart below). Though not in themselves proof that Moscow is preparing a new influence campaign, the signals suggest the generally dull campaign
in Germany has curiously high media penetration in Russia.