What Are We Thinking About Elections? Ask Google.
One way to measure reaction to the goings-on in Cleveland is by what people are searching for online. Simon Rogers, Google’s data editor is monitoring that this week, and says one name, not surprisingly, has dominated searches: Trump. That includes Donald, of course, but also his wife, Melania, and his kids.
Rogers said web users are looking for answers to questions about some big issues, such as ISIS, race and immigration.
But, he said, Arizonans are also researching some other issues.
"I would say there’s a slightly higher indexing of searches around gun control in Arizona than there are in other states," Rogers said. "And, same-sex marriage is in the top five issues, as well, which it is not in a few other states, as well."
Rogers said Google’s had real-time search data for less than a year, making this the first election in which researchers could study it. He believes it can be a helpful tool.
"We’re never as honest as we are with our search engine, and what that means is you can really get at what people genuinely care about, rather than how they wish to be perceived or presented to the world," Rogers said. "And then there’s the immediacy to it . As soon as something happens, we start searching. So it really gives you a very powerful social signal."
Rogers said Google searches are up 25-30 percent from the 2012 election cycle.