For the non-Hillary Rodham Clinton, non-Bernie Sanders Democrats participating in the first debate on Tuesday night, there was one goal: Get noticed. A look at the candidates being searched on Google during the debate shows that one candidate managed to do that.
Sanders repeatedly saw spikes in Google interest after he spoke. After his intro. After he talked about guns. After basically everything else he said. About an hour after the debate began, Jim Webb attracted some attention after he complained about not having an opportunity to speak. But it was Sanders that drew attention the whole time.
What's more, Sanders actually overpowered the long-term king of Google, Donald Trump. During the debate, Sanders continually attracted more Google interest than Trump.
Our partners at Zignal Labs show that Sanders also dominated Clinton on Twitter.
Notice who didn't make much of a splash: Martin O'Malley. The former Maryland governor didn't even generate much interest even during his introduction.
A look at the futures market at PredictIt offers slightly better news: O'Malley is trading slightly higher; Sanders slightly lower. Only Webb saw a big change.
There were two people who really didn't need to generate much interest. One was Hillary Clinton, who people don't seem to need to Google very much. The other was Sanders, who is about the only person people are Googling.
Perhaps the most interesting exchange of the second hour was the back-and-forth between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders over her e-mails -- specifically, Sanders's argument that we should all be talking about other issues. (Sanders: "The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails!") But it's not what people wanted to learn more about.
Sanders continued to get the most Google interest overall, spiking when he mentioned his efforts to push back on Wall Street.
Webb again attracted some attention. During a discussion on immigration, Webb mentioned that his wife is an immigrant and a refugee. As we've seen in past debates, people head to Google to learn about the candidates' families.
But on politics? Sanders Sanders Sanders.
From start to finish, it was Sanders. Clinton got some attention, as did Webb. But nearly every time Sanders spoke, he generated Google traffic for people searching his name. And in the immediate aftermath of the debate -- a time when Ben Carson did well in the Republican debates -- Sanders got his most interest of the night.
What did people want to know? Not ... exactly policy.
- bernie sanders age
- how old is bernie sanders
- bernie sanders net worth (Sanders did mention that he's not a millionaire like other candidates)
- bernie sanders wife
- is bernie sanders jewish
Still! People wanted to learn more about Bernie Sanders -- not really Hillary Clinton, not really Martin O'Malley. There's no saying this will correlate to poll position. But it's probably safe to assume that it's better to be of some interest than of no interest -- like Lincoln Chafee, who generated so little interest that this is the first time we've mentioned him in this article.
Had to work him in somewhere.