The evidence on Google Trends is overwhelming: We’re obsessed with Donald Trump. That’s worldwide, not just in the US. In his native country, Mr. Trump is as hot a topic as there comes. In Canada, Latin America, Europe, Australia and many other nations, Mr. Trump is the center of attention this 2016 US presidential campaign.
It’s been one marred by controversy, from Ms. Clinton’s abuse of her e-mail privileges as a public official to Mr. Trump’s open promotion of sexual assault, and many allegations he committed this grievous crime against numerous women.
A cursory study of the information provided by Google Trends paints a disturbing portrait: despite nearly ubiquitous contempt for Mr. Trump, we’re talking about him an awful lot.
Take a look at the chart below. It’s an “interest over time” chart dating back five years. You can see some points in the distant past where it seems Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump are trending. Then, as the campaign revs up, so does the number of Google inquiries into each. Except, Mr. Trump, unlike Mrs. Clinton, goes hyperbolic!
Here is a six month chart, but for United States, not “worldwide.”
The following chart zooms in on the past year. You can see Mrs. Clinton has enjoyed a steadier climb compared with the ups-and-downs in Trump-related inquiries. Still, up until very recently, it shows that the internet – at least according to Google – is talking much more frequently about Mr. Trump than Mrs. Clinton. In fact, nearly twice as much at some junctures.
In the past six months not much has changed, but you can see that Mrs. Clinton does eclipse Mr. Trump in Google inquiries.
Our obsession with Mr. Trump has gone global. Forget about the spread of Communism. We live in a sea of red today about twenty days ahead of the 2016 US Presidential Election.
Trends doesn’t count repeated searches by the same person over a short period of time. Each piece of data is divided by total searches of the geography and time range it takes place in. This helps Google compare relative popularity of a search term. Google scales its data on a range of 0-100 “based on a topic’s proportion to all searches on all topics.”
Currently, Mr. Trump appears as a “100” in the United States, while Mrs. Clinton just a “57.” In Mexico, Mr. Trump ranks at “29.” Mrs. Clinton: 6.
What Trends doesn’t tell us is what people are saying, so it’s likely the intense media scrutiny of Mr. Trump’s more inane and repulsive comments have played a big role in how the data is reflected on the Google Trends tool. In the age of social media, to be sure, that means everyday internet users have played just a big role. What the data tells us about the election result, if anything at all, has yet to be determined.
Image from Shutterstock.