Politics In Search

By samooresamoore (1251644900|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

I recently saw when browsing my RSS reader, an article about "Keating Economics" being one of the top terms on Google the day the Obama campaign released the information about McCain's connection to the Keating Five. I was a little surprised that this was one of the top terms on Google so I wondered what else the search industry was doing involving the presidential campaigns.

Trends

First I took a look at the search trends for some of the candidates. (There is also Google Election trends which breaks things down even more.)

Barack Obama

John McCain

Comparison of all four candidates

comparera4.png
McCain - blue, Obama - red, Palin - orange, Biden - green

Palin surprisingly has the largest single day of any of the candidates, which is somewhat expected because she went from an unknown (as seen by her trend line) to a VP candidate. Campaigns are having to deal with the Internet more than ever before and this is a new phenomenon. As we have studied, people go to the internet first for information. The campaigns have to do everything they can to optimize search results and make sure that potential voters find the information they want them to.

What Else?

Yahoo! has also put together a dashboard for all political information. This dashboard breaks down the top searches, top news stories and blogs, and latest polling results. This is a very good example of how companies like Yahoo and Google have so much data that they can manipulate it into little side projects like this very easily. I wouldn't be surprised if Yahoo set up some kind of dashboard during other national (and international) stories like the Olympics.

Conclusion

Search engines are playing a very large role in this years Presidential Race and I feel that this is just a reminder of the business potential of search engines because they are first and foremost big business. Politics is a huge issue in the blogosphere, on search engines, and I even saw a site that let you type in any issue and provided results from the internet about each candidates position. Sites like Politico are being started as politics only websites and it appears that Google, Yahoo, and the internet play as big of a role as anything else in this years Presidential election. Search engines are just the tip of the iceberg: YouTube, Facebook and of course internet donations are all playing a role.

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