Let's get two things out of the way from the outset. No, people do not appear to have tried to Google more information about Donald Trump's claims regarding his hand size. And, yes, people did Google to try and figure out what was on Ted Cruz's lip. (See Footnote No. 1.)
Why do we start there? Because this is where we are. The 11th Republican debate was pretty insane, even measured against the high bar for craziness that the preceding 10 had set. Google makes neat little charts showing what topics people were Googling, but they don't include topics like "Trump's steak brand" or "Trump's meat."
We track the topics people were most interested in minute-by-minute. And the biggest spike came as Ted Cruz was talking about his postcard-sized tax form (which was actually supposed to be an answer about who does the work of the IRS if you get rid of the IRS).
Trump had his spikes. People really did want to learn more about Trump Steaks. (See Footnote 2.) And when Trump University came up, people searched for information on that, too, as they did in the last debate. John Kasich got on the board as he talked about his foreign policy chops -- but, yeah, Trump dominated once again.
Rising searches for Trump:
- trump debate
- trump steaks
- donald trump age
- how old is donald trump
We'll note that the Cruz lip incident coincided with the tax discussion. So the rising searches for Cruz:
- ted cruz booger
- ted cruz mouth
- ted cruz tax postcard
We are an elegant species.
On social media, where the watchword is commenting on/complaining about things and not looking for more information, Trump's comments about the original Donald Jr. clearly vaulted him into first place in the attention race. Two-thirds of the tweets about the candidates in the first half of the debate were about Trump. Over the course of the debate, more than 70 percent of the conversation about the candidates on Facebook was about Donald Trump.
They say that there's no such thing as bad publicity, but that adage only holds true for the person being talked about, not all the rest of us.