British web users are furiously Googling ‘electoral college’

November 6, 2012

How, exactly, do American elections work again? That seems to be the question sending British Internet users racing to their Google machines, judging by this data from Google trends. British searches are skyrocketing for the key term to understanding the peculiar U.S. system for electing presidents: "electoral college."

The electoral college (let me save you a Google: official U.S. government explanation here) is confusing enough to Americans. So it's understandable that foreign observers, who are earnestly interested in the U.S. presidential race, would develop a sudden curiosity about the institution that will help select the leader of the world's richest and powerful country.

The Post's Kathy Lally reports that Russians often consider the electoral college "a delicious opening to admonish the United States on the conduct of its elections." Money quote: "Our Russian elections are far more democratic than American elections. ... People don’t elect the American president. The Electoral College elects him." 

I tried to check Google trends data for Russian searches for "electoral college," but Google returns the error "not enough search volume to show graphs."

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Max Fisher | November 6, 2012