Let me Google that campaign for you

posted at 5:30 pm on January 14, 2012 by Karl

If you are reading a political blog like this, the odds are you are a political junkie. Conversely, if you are reading this, you are probably not a casual voter. The discussion at political blogs is geared to the intensely interested, while campaigns ultimately want to win the casual voter.

Accordingly, political junkies might do well to look at what the casual voter knows or wants to know about the candidates. One easy way of looking at this is as close as your nearest auto-completing search engine. Here is what happens if you search for current GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney:

Those results may not surprise you, but note that Bain Capital is not among them, suggesting it is not yet part of the zeitgeist. However, the fact that Mitt Romney’s net worth is already a common topic suggests the Bain issue could enter these charts with a bullet.

Searches for Newt Gingrich, Romney’s nearest rival nationally and in the South Carolina primary, suggest that what people know or want to know about him beyond his positions is his personal baggage. If Newt were to beat the current odds and secure the GOP nomination, the casual voter may well conclude, for better or worse, that the Democrats are running the “family values” candidate for 2012. Also note that all of the chatter in political fora about the attacks from Gingrich and the Super PAC supporting him against Romney over the Bain issue are not common knowledge yet.

Next up is Rick Santorum, paired with Rick Perry for Rick Symmetry:

The results for this pair are not particularly surprising, although the gay factor is different for each when you call up the search results. Rick Santorum’s gay search results concern the socially conservative positions which are his trademark. Rick Perry’s gay search results reflect not only the socially conservative ads he ran in Iowa, but also the baseless rumors pursued by the left at the outset of his campaign. First impressions matter, though Perry’s inarticulate image is also a big factor here. On Santorum’s side of the ledger, it’s also notable how far down the list “fetus” ranks, given the politically-engaged’s chatter about liberal mockery of the way the Santorum family dealt with their deceased child. These charts also suggest that these candidate’ comments on gay and racial issues are currently more significant among casual voters (to the extent they are significant) than abortion, which features in the charts for Romney (a likely product of his frontrunner status).

Rounding out the top challengers is Ron Paul, paired with Herman Cain:

As with Romney, the interesting thing about Paul’s chart is what is not on it. The blogosphere may have discussed Ron Paul’s bigoted newsletters and conspiracy crankery, but the only coverage of them in the establishment media occurred near Christmas, when the casual voter is not paying attention. Paulians may want to theorize that the absence of these issues from the chart means people have do not care about Paul’s baggage, which is why his chart is paired with Herman Cain’s search results. If Paul’s baggage was part of the zeitgeist, it would still appear in his search results, the way Cain’s scandal still appears in his. The results reflect that many voters do not know basic facts about the Republican candidates running for president or the early primary calendar.

Finally, we come to the incumbent. The pundit class talks a lot about Barack Obama’s efforts to make 2012 a choice between him and someone to be demonized later. At this juncture, his chart suggests a referendum on how he is doing his job, particularly on the jobs issue. The chart also suggests Obamacare is still a big part of the conversation about the president, although the GOP will likely throw this away if Mitt Romney is the nominee.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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GOOGLE THIS!!!!

Neal4007 on January 14, 2012 at 5:35 PM

I usually find everything I need to know
if I read the articles here and click on the links.
Direct drive if you will…

Neal4007 on January 14, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Impeach Obama graffiti in NYC. Baby steps, my fellow NYk’ers, babysteps..

Urban Infidel on January 14, 2012 at 5:41 PM

If Paul’s baggage was part of the zeitgeist, it would still appear in his search results, the way Cain’s scandal still appears in his.

You’re assuming that the public assigns it any significant amount of import. Everyone knows that Ron Paul has a nose, but no one googles that. They don’t think it’s important. Not saying this is absolutely the case with Paul’s “baggage”, just saying it’s a potential explanation.

thirtyandseven on January 14, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Yeah, well try ‘Karl’ and then you’ll really get something…

beatcanvas on January 14, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Herman Cain pokemon?

Really?

I don’t think I want to know.

hillbillyjim on January 14, 2012 at 5:43 PM

The results reflect that many voters do not know basic facts about the Republican candidates running for president or the early primary calendar.

Oh don’t worry.
By the time news and information giants like Comedy Central and SNL and Leno and Letterman and MegaMac are done with their October shows,
these voters will know everything and I mean everything about the Republican candidate.
Right now it is too early because these voters are busy following the Kard@$$ians and Snooki and Moochelle’s fashion and so they are incapable of absorbing any more important stuffs.

burrata on January 14, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Yeah. Google google autosuggest funny.

Paul-Cincy on January 14, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Impeach Obama graffiti in NYC. Baby steps, my fellow NYk’ers, babysteps..

Urban Infidel on January 14, 2012 at 5:41 PM

In NYC ?
I think what the arteeest really wanted to spray was :
I’m a peach Obama
:P

burrata on January 14, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Um, Karl, what search engine you using? Certainly isn’t Google. Your “ron paul” search and analysis is WAAAAAY off.

thphilli on January 14, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Herman Cain pokemon?

Really?

I don’t think I want to know.

hillbillyjim on January 14, 2012 at 5:43 PM

He used a few lines, probably accidentally, from a pokemon song during a debate.

Life can be a challenge. Life can seem impossible. It’s never easy when there’s so much on the line. But you and I can make a difference. There’s a mission just for you and me

jhffmn on January 14, 2012 at 5:55 PM

The suggestions I see when I Google Obama include:

Marxist
Transcripts
Lost years
Muslim
Socialist
Lies
Known associates
Oppulence
Emperors new clothes…

Roy Rogers on January 14, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Yea, especially if location settings are different, the results can be different.

thirtyandseven on January 14, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Karl, this is a screenshot taken from a completely unmolested and fresh install of IE:

http://imgur.com/xcpsm

Care to explain why its so dramatically different from yours? And certainly the conclusion you draw is COMPLETELY off base in light of the real autosuggestions right?

thphilli on January 14, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Think there’s no bias in the staff at google?

Speakup on January 14, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Oh, also, I didn’t and have NEVER signed into any google service with that install of IE, nor have I ever let it set cookies or anything else. This is literally the first search ever done in that install of IE.

thphilli on January 14, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Cast as Romney’s Victim, Gaffney South Carolina Says, ‘Huh?’
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/14/us/politics/cast-as-romneys-victim-gaffney-sc-says-huh.html?_r=1

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas picked up the theme this week, calling Mr. Romney a “vulture capitalist” and pointing to Gaffney as an example of the depths to which Mr. Romney will stoop to make a profit.

There is a problem, though. Here in Gaffney, where deeply held Christian beliefs often matter more than jobs, few remember the Holson Burnes photo album plant, let alone the devastation its closing is alleged to have caused back in 1992.

“I have been here all my life,” said Ed Elliott, who sells insurance. “I’m 59 years old, and I’ve never heard of the plant.”

That Bain’s actions carry little resonance in a community whose woes have been seized on by presidential candidates testifies to the impact of the campaigns’ opposition research and their willingness to exploit a convenient storyline. Here in Gaffney, the focus is a little embarrassing for residents who do not know what all the fuss is about.

“Nobody here really cares about that. It wasn’t a big deal,” Mr. Sossamon said. Others are similarly mystified.

That is not to say the loss of any job does not matter here. This city of 12,000 people has been brought to its knees first by the loss of the agricultural sector and then by the slow collapse of the textile industry. But there is work to be had. The photo album plant that was abandoned by Bain soon became home to a Bic pen factory that employs 80 people.

Nestlé has a large factory here, where a thousand workers make frozen dinners and other packaged food. The Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, with 500 employees, fashions chassis for school buses and mobile homes. About 700 people work at Timken producing steel roller bearings.

“We’re not Appalachia here,” Mr. Elliott said. “We’re not in poverty.”

oops….

haner on January 14, 2012 at 5:59 PM

It just occurred to me from the screenshots above that you are using the built in search bar in either IE or firefox. That toolbar is taking your browsing history into account when it is offering up suggestions. Your browsing history is skewing the results.

thphilli on January 14, 2012 at 6:02 PM

thphilli on January 14, 2012 at 5:56 PM

If I don’t press the space bar after entering in Ron Paul, I get what Karl got. If I do, I get what you got.

McDuck on January 14, 2012 at 6:04 PM

If I don’t press the space bar after entering in Ron Paul, I get what Karl got. If I do, I get what you got.

McDuck on January 14, 2012 at 6:04 PM

All a space after does it remove the first suggestion of “ron paul” and add a “ron paul abortion” at the end with all of the other suggestions moving up one. Unless you are doing it in a new installation of a browser, or one where you clear all the cache, cookies, and personal data, your browsing history is effecting the results. Google tailors these results for the individual user.

thphilli on January 14, 2012 at 6:07 PM

thphilli on January 14, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Reverse what I said earlier. If I press the space bar after entering in Ron Paul, I get what Karl got. if I don’t, I get what you got.

McDuck on January 14, 2012 at 6:07 PM

My settings must be different or something because I’m just receiving a few suggestions for everything typed in. Try Ask.com for more suggested results.

The Nerve on January 14, 2012 at 6:09 PM

BY KARL has got it all WRONG,

Google Controls the search, ya think

mathewsjw on January 14, 2012 at 6:12 PM

If someone does a lot of “google” searches they are probably a “google” junkie or a parrot.

Carthoris on January 14, 2012 at 6:14 PM

thphilli on January 14, 2012 at 6:07 PM

For me, the racist is removed entirely with one, but not the other. And I just tried it on a clean Firefox. No idea why we’re getting different results.

McDuck on January 14, 2012 at 6:16 PM

. The chart also suggests Obamacare is still a big part of the conversation about the president, although the GOP will likely absolutely have to throw this away if Mitt Romney is the nominee.

FIFY

Midas on January 14, 2012 at 6:17 PM

I did a “google” on “obama psycopath moron criminal” and got 14,100,000 hits. I don’t think I have time to look at them all though.

Carthoris on January 14, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Jailbreak did a search for Romney and the only returns that came up were “Romney electability”!

Dack Thrombosis on January 14, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Sarah Palin:

glen rice
quotes
hot
pictures
twitter
paul revere
affair
divorce
facebook

Sex, lies, and videotape. Nothing about being governor, VP candidate, issues, policies. Speaker, leader, advocate. No. One night stand with an NBA player. Misspoke about Paul Revere. Only thing close to substance is quotes (but more likely to look for stupid quotes), twitter, and facebook. Her public image is of a stupid slut. “glen rice” is the first mention.

Yes I want to turn this into a Sarah Palin thread. LOL :)

Paul-Cincy on January 14, 2012 at 6:23 PM

did a “google” on “obama psycopath moron criminal” and got 14,100,000 hits. I don’t think I have time to look at them all though.

Carthoris on January 14, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Look what I found :
About 335,000,000 results (0.08 seconds)
http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&source=hp&q=obama+gay+maniac++&pbx=1&oq=obama+gay+maniac++&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=d&gs_upl=11081l12656l3l12776l8l6l1l0l0l1l305l997l0.4.1.1l7l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=f2320ca0c5207b05&biw=835&bih=345

burrata on January 14, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Dr. Paul’s foreign policy is in the mainstream everywhere outside of DC.

abobo on January 14, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Just a few of the comments from the Dog Story thread where his supporters were claiming nobody except the Hot Air “Romney Haters” would be interested in it. Usernames removed.

I really don’t see this working in the primary. In the general, I expect we’ll see a few of these ads and it’ll turn a few people off (not many), but it won’t be the focus. (Bain will obviously receive more much attention.)

_____ on January 11, 2012 at 7:16 PM

I don’t think the Dog story has legs. Its all bark and no bite.

_____ on January 11, 2012 at 8:00 PM

I’m sorry, but I can’t take the “Mitt hates dogs!” attack seriously. I know that Newt and Perry are floundering, but these attacks are just plain embarrassing. I mean, really.

It’s hilarious!

_____ on January 11, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Ok, let’s be real for a second, ok? We both know that the dog thing is just a silly, exaggerated story. I will give you that much credit to assume you are not that big of an idiot.

I’m telling you this straight now… not mocking you at all… it is absolutely ridiculous and looks terribly desperate to try to push this story. It’s a joke! Do you not see that you are helping Romney?

_____ on January 11, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I told you this story is not a “non-story”! I told you it would still be an issue.

_____ on January 11, 2012 at 7:21 PM

No honey, it won’t be.

_____ on January 11, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Flora Duh on January 14, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Flora Duh on January 14, 2012 at 6:50 PM

It’s not a coincidence the dog issue comes up first with Romney. Libs and the MoveOn crew are busy working on a google bomb related to the dog issue. I think there is an obvious response to this. The dog liked riding in carrier, and lord knows liberals hate to see anyone have a good time. It is pretty widely accepted dogs love riding with their head out the window.

msmveritas on January 14, 2012 at 6:56 PM

msmveritas on January 14, 2012 at 6:56 PM

The guy who initially investigated and reported this story said the kennel carrier had its own WINDSHIELD on it. Implying Romney used it as it was intended to be used.

Paul-Cincy on January 14, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Flora Duh on January 14, 2012 at 6:50 PM

I do not support Romney in the primary.

McDuck on January 14, 2012 at 7:15 PM

thphilli on January 14, 2012 at 5:56 PM

You can set autocomplete to be affected by your prior search history. I have not. Indeed, given the number of occasions I have written about Paul’s baggage, the newsletters would surely have shown up in my results with the alternate setting. But my original search is from the IE search bar, and I just checked it against Firefox — which I rarely use — both from the search bar and Google’s landing page. Neither resembles your results. So it’s likely a function of location.

I do find your result interesting, as it does demonstrate more awareness of Paul’s baggage than my results.

Karl on January 14, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Obamacare is still a big part of the conversation about the president, although the GOP will likely throw this away if Mitt Romney is the nominee.

That’s ridiculous and repeating this nonsense a billion times won’t make it any less ridiculous. One nominee wants to keep ObamaCare and the other one has said repeatedly that he wants it repealed. If repeal legislation comes out of a GOP-controlled Congress then Romney will sign it. If Obama’s still in the White House then it will be vetoed. Then the only hope is the SCOTUS. But the idea that RomneyCare disqualifies Romney from arguing for repealing or overturning ObamaCare is simply not a valid one.

cicerone on January 14, 2012 at 7:21 PM

McDuck on January 14, 2012 at 7:15 PM

I apologize for the mistake.

Flora Duh on January 14, 2012 at 7:24 PM

The guy who initially investigated and reported this story said the kennel carrier had its own WINDSHIELD on it. Implying Romney used it as it was intended to be used.

Paul-Cincy on January 14, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Any proof the dog didn’t like it? Motorcycles have windshields too – what’s your point?

msmveritas on January 14, 2012 at 7:29 PM

Friend Karl wtf i dunno this looked like millenial math to me
HotGas.com is where you go for quick and dirty not fancy pants.

Teh Tebow just scarambled for a first quarter first down against the Hoodies.

Sacramento on January 14, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Think there’s no bias in the staff at google?

Speakup on January 14, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Bingo.

KOOLAID2 on January 14, 2012 at 10:22 PM

I know a guy who drives search topics on Google for a living…it’s like paid faux twitter followers or hiring fake paparazzi for that special celebrity panache.

workingclass artist on January 14, 2012 at 10:59 PM

Think there’s no bias in the staff at google?

Speakup on January 14, 2012 at 5:57 PM

IT people in general tend to be liberal.

Ortzinator on January 15, 2012 at 12:53 AM

Here is what happens if you search for current GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney:

Your article does not discuss any actual search results. You discuss autocomplete prompts, nothing more. That you don’t even discuss that actual search results is odd. What’s more is you don’t even attempt to report on the technical details pertinent to such a discussion.

What is the point of this?

Capitalist Hog on January 15, 2012 at 1:46 AM

The chart also suggests Obamacare is still a big part of the conversation about the president, although the GOP will likely throw this away if Mitt Romney is the nominee.

I am not convinced the issue is thrown away with Romney. First, SCOTUS will weigh in before the general so the mandate may be neutralized depending on the outcome. If the mandate is found unconstitutional, Obama is going to need some solution yet to be determined. Guaranteed whoever his opponent is will in some way be a determining factor in how that solution is crafted. With Obama, it is politics first and the country last. Romney did not run in 2008 promoting a national model based on his plan in Massachusetts. Ironically, only Hillary Clinton promoted such a model. Obama opposed it, yet here we sit with a mandate problem.

If the mandate is ruled constitutional we know Obama will proceed full steam ahead and implement the plan if he is reelected. Romney however has said he would repeal if given the 13 seats in the Senate. I think they all have said this and they all need 60 seats in the Senate to guarantee repeal. It behooves us to concentrate on that goal and the more conservative they are the better. It is doubtful we are going to get there though. Put me in the Kevin Williams camp believing dismantling this leviathan will be easier to accomplish without an ideological flamethrower at the helm.

I opposed the health care law vehemently. I don’t overlook Romney’s mandate problem lightly. I have more serious concerns however about Newt’s suitability to weather a national campaign and lead the country at a time we desperately need to solve serious problems. Newt advocates argue it was the ads Romney ran that brought the “hey kids maybe we can elect Newt Gingrich” bubble crashing down to earth. Though the ads were a painful reminder that there was indeed an “old Newt” with baggage (big baggage in fact), it was the reemergence of the old Newt in the wake of the ads that bothered me most. This doesn’t bode well for Newt’s potential for leadership. As Coburn wrote in “Breach of Trust:”

He had a saying on his wall in the Speaker’s office that he quoted often: “Listen, learn, help, and lead.” The freshmen later developed our own quote about Gingrich: “Fire, Ready, Aim.

Sen. Tom A. Coburn M.D.;John Hart. Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders (Kindle Location 850). Kindle Edition.

That sounds like the most fitting description of Newt’s behavior I’ve seen since he declared“I’m going to be the nominee.”

Newt is a brilliant guy and I welcomed his presence on the debate stage. It was always clear to me however, his strength was as spokesperson for Republicans. He was shut down and rendered speechless at least one time I recall. In one the countless debates thus far he challenged Romney on the mandate. Newt was forced to concede Romney’s point that the idea for the mandate came from Newt himself. Note well which website chose to save that little exchange. Newt has a mandate problem too.

While I am certain someone is aching to point out Newt has since renounced that position, it remains a fact that people who can afford health care and don’t buy it, at least need to be in a position to pay for it if they need care. Surely as conservatives we are not arguing that hospitals should eat this cost or we the taxpayers should continue absorbing costs. No one is threatening to undo Reagan’s EMTALA legislation that mandates hospitals provide emergency treatment to anyone regardless of their ability to pay. What of those who can afford insurance yet haven’t purchased it nor have they planned to pay for treatment if they should need it. It is tough to plan with costs escalating as they have been. To be honest, we hang our conservative hats in outrage over the mandate because it effectively unravels Obamacare. I am all for getting rid of Obamacare but I also admit the focus on the mandate misses the mark.

The candidate in the best position to challenge Obamacare is probably Santorum who forced Romney to concede he, like Obama, focused on the wrong problem:

“I didn’t get the job done in Massachusetts in getting the health care costs down in this country. It’s something I think we have got to do at the national level. I intend to do that.”

It’s the costs that are the problem and Romney has already conceded he made that mistake. Should we choose the guy who cut costs in bloated corporations destined to fail(metaphor alert) to make that case or the guy who thinks social issues are the path to fiscal salvation?

Santorum also had organizational problems in previous elections. Fortunately Arlen Specter rode to his rescue and Santorum owed Specter forevermore. I guarantee you Pat Toomey would never have voted the way Specter did on that Christmas eve in 2009. I am sure Toomey would also find it somewhat ironic that Santorum now argues we don’t have to vote for the moderate candidate. Too bad he didn’t believe that when Toomey would have faced an underfunded weak candidate like Hoeffel.

Let’s face it, they all have a health care problem and MoveOn will make sure they have google problem. We are all compromising on something in choosing a candidate. Most of us are going to rally behind whoever gets the nomination. My bet is on the guy who has spent the last few years putting the the pieces in place to win it.

Sorry for the length of the comment but it did help me sort through my thoughts on this to write it all out.

msmveritas on January 15, 2012 at 2:42 AM

—————————————–
Overnight dividing line.
—————————————–

What no one has pointed out about this article:

The technique doesn’t actually uncover attitudes or knowledge of casual voters. The search engine results display the results of actions of curious people who chose to find out specific pieces of information.

Thus, this tells you about a certain type of voter who lies somewhere between “high information” voters and “low information” voters.

Perhaps an argument can be made that these medium information voters are a leading indicator for what the low information voters (general population) will know in the near future.

Dextrous on January 15, 2012 at 6:49 AM

“The chart also suggests Obamacare is still a big part of the conversation about the president, although the GOP will likely throw this away if Mitt Romney is the nominee.”

Which is why no one should vote for Romney.

Czar of Defenestration on January 15, 2012 at 7:04 AM

“But the idea that RomneyCare disqualifies Romney from arguing for repealing or overturning ObamaCare is simply not a valid one.”
cicerone on January 14, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Of course it *IS*.
You give no reason why not.

On the other hand, we have Romney,
a habitual flip-flopper,
one who has been proven to say anything to get elected,
who was responsible for the disastrous RomneyCare,
saying out of oone side of his mouth “it’s a great success and I stand by it”
and out of the other side of his mouth
“I promise to get rid of ObamaCare.”

Only an idiot could believe such garbage.

Czar of Defenestration on January 15, 2012 at 7:26 AM