With the exception of the dramatic spike from Lindsey Graham, the Republican that generated the most interest over the course of the debate was clearly Carly Fiorina. Interest in her spiked early and continued to grow shortly after the debate ended.


For the lower-tier candidates, big spikes in interest are about as good as it can get.


Update 2: Graham spikes

Lindsey Graham's brief, morose comments about the difficult times of his life appears to have spurred a huge spike in search interest for the South Carolina senator. He talked about the death of his parents at about 6:10 p.m. -- and Google searches for him spiked immediately afterward.

Graham said:

When I was 21, my mom died. When I was 22, my dad died. We owned a liquor store, restaurant, bar and we lived in the back. Every penny we needed from -- every penny we got from Social Security, because my sister was a minor, we needed. Today, I'm 60, I'm not married, I don't have any kids. I would give up some Social Security to save a system that Americans are going to depend on now and in the future.

And right after, searches for his name spiked.


Fiorina had been dominating the second half of the debate -- as she did the first -- until Graham saw that spike.

Bobby Jindal scored some interest, too, when he said that Bernie Sanders was at least "honest enough to call himself a socialist," unlike Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Earlier in the debate, Fiorina managed to generate more Google attention than Donald Trump once or twice -- no small feat these days. Graham's spike demolished it.



Update 1: Carly Fiorina wins! (The first half.) (Of the kiddie-table debate.)

A quick look at how often people are searching for each of the candidates in Thursday's warm-up debate shows that Carly Fiorina's strong performance paid off -- as of the halfway point, at least.


The line about not getting a call from Bill Clinton, aimed at Donald Trump, prompted a little bit of searching, but not nearly as much as her introduction. Her response on Internet security got a lot of attention, too.

Lindsey Graham's seen some interest as he spoke, and Rick Santorum got people to look him up once he told the story about his father's attempt to immigrate from Italy.

Can we now confidently predict that Carly Fiorina will be president? Probably not.

All graph data from Google Trends. Results are in the United States only.