Google Trends is providing a new way to look at the 2016 election: through what issues and candidates garner the most Internet interest.
For months, the popular search engine has tracked what candidates are the most searched and what about them people are researching.
Checking back in with their data after the first Republican primary debate gives some clue as to how audiences reacted to the Republican candidates in their first major political meeting.
The following is what has and hasn’t changed in the 2016 election following the first Republican debate, according to Google:
Donald Trump remains the most searched Republican candidate. Between 4:48 p.m. EST and 11:48 p.m. EST, Google Trends noted only two instances in which Trump was overtaken in searches, first by Lindsey Graham and then by Ben Carson. FiveThirtyEight notes that Lindsey Graham’s temporary surge seemed to follow his story about losing his two parents and relying on Social Security.
Though Trump dominated overall in Internet popularity, Carly Fiorina’s search numbers in the early debate point to how well she performed. The former Hewlett-Packard executive remained the most searched candidate participating in the early debate in all but a few instances, even beating out Trump in the hour leading up to the prime-time debate.
The Google Trends data tracked hour-by-hour what issues were the most searched:
Education, taxes, abortion, immigration, health care and same-sex marriage were the most searched issues, suggesting only a slight change of interest in issues between the time before the debate and after. In the days leading up to the debate, abortion wasn’t even on the top 10 list of most searched issues.
The post-debate data page also reveals what issues people are searching for by candidate.
For example, people searched “Donald Trump on abortion” more than they searched his stance on any other issue during the Thursday night debate. People also searched for Trump’s stance on immigration, gun control, same-sex marriage and Planned Parenthood at a high rater rate than any other issues.
Google Trends also released data on what moment during the GOP debate people are searching for the most on YouTube after the debate ended.
Google Trends’ GOP debate data page also provides information about what questions people had about specific issues (What does it mean to eliminate sanctuary cities?), what questions people had about the moderators (Is Bret Baier a Democrat?) and the most popular questions for each candidate overall (What religion is Ben Carson?).