Poor Biden? Google Trends and the Presidential Candidates

November 10, 2008 at 4:48 pm Leave a comment

Blue=Obama
Red=McCain
Yellow=Palin
Green=Biden

The most obvious piece of this picture is that Palin is getting far too much attention. There is also a dramatic Obama spike from Election Day, which interestingly barely bumped McCain. The most surprising part is that, although the Interwebs search volume for Palin is strongly above McCain and sometimes Obama, the news (at the bottom) favors McCain to Palin. Lately, Palin settles down a bit and the real candidates take center stage.

This election was fairly unique in that a Veep candidate drew so much attention, and I think the main reason was that she is, as a friend of mine gracefully phrased it, “A monumental fuck-up”. From the wardrobe wallet malfunction to her constant race-baiting and ranting against Obama, to her disastrous Couric interview, to whatever SNL did that week, Palin’s campaign has been marked by bad taste and ineptitude.

Really, Palin had very little going for her except ideological conviction, which she has in spades. I haven’t mentioned her anti-scientific and anti-intellectual tendencies, have I? That doesn’t go over well with the ‘Net crowd. In fact, although there are no numbers for this, I’d bet that over 90%, probably 95% of the searches for her were looking for “dirt” about her latest blunder rather than seeking an informed portfolio of the candidates. This is the kind of interest Paris Hilton gets, not the kind we want politicians getting.

Biden, on the other hand, has no dirt to speak of. He barely has pocket lint. So the people Googling him are looking for his credentials, platform, and so on. This is a more election-appropriate kind of search, but much rarer nowadays.

So, to sum things up, although Palin may be “winning” the Google Trends game, it’s terrible news for her campaign, and great news for the reality-based community. Evangelical Christians don’t spend a whole lot of time on the Web, and the Paris Hilton aura of her bid for Veepness didn’t help. Biden may be almost invisible, but he’s in exactly the right spot for a Vice President; in the shadows, ready to help out and if need be take over. People know a bit about him, but he hasn’t done anything too entertaining. Biden actually declined to give an acceptance speech last week, feeling it wasn’t his place, whereas the RNC desperately forbid Palin to say anything.

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