Debt ceiling search spike reveals country’s concern


Internet users are searching for any information about the debt ceiling. (TIM WIMBORNE/REUTERS)

Fancy polls and social science aside, if you want a quick and dirty snapshot of what the country is thinking, look no further than what Americans are typing into their search engines.

According to a report from Web analytics firm Experian Hitwise, people have been hitting the Web for information — any information — about the debt ceiling. The report shows that searches for that term and variations on that phrase have jumped 232 percent during the week ending July 16. Searchers are most interested in explanations of the debt ceiling, updates on the latest talks and the history of the debate.

Searchers are also looking at President Obama’s past and current views on the U.S. debt, as well as the views and actions on the debt ceiling under previous administrations dating to the days of President Richard Nixon.

Internet searches also show that people are worried about what will happen to the economy, Social Security and unemployment if the debate is not resolved by the Aug. 2 deadline — when Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner says the nations will default on its debt obligations.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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