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Search Trends in the 2016 Presidential Election

by Blair Munro

published on 2016-12-15 12:48:00

Image result for Images for search trends for the 2016 Presidential Election

The 2016 Presidential Election was unique in many ways for American voters. The larger than life candidates drove passion (and furor) from both sides of the aisle. Social media allowed voters to share their news stories (whether real or fake), easily and frequently. Television viewership on the night of the election broke records. Websites like CNN, Politico and Fox News saw significant increases in unique visitors. The election night results on alone surpassed 1M page views. Even the New York Times saw an increase in paid digital and print subscribers.

Another resource voters turned to during the election was search. Analyzing search data can help bring to light how voters felt about issues, candidates and the American election process.

Google Trends has undertaken the daunting task of compiling the search data from the election in its “Elections in Search 2016” interactive website. Some interesting insights:

  • Searches for Donald Trump peaked at 6:00AM November 9th (the morning after the election)
  •  The #1 issue in search for 44 states is immigration. Can you guess what the #1 issue is for the remaining 6 states (see answer below)?
  • The #1 searched issue in Wayne County is abortion, while the #1 searched issue in Oakland County is immigration. Macomb County’s #1 issues are abortion and the economy (tied)
  •  Many people turn to search for a refresher on the mechanics of the American Election system, especially on the Electoral College
Explore these great finds and more, here.

Answer: The #1 issue for the remaining 6 states is abortion.

Sources:, A Report That Fake News 'Outperformed' Real News on Facebook Suggests the Problem is Wildly Out of Control”, Variety, “Election Night Ratings: More Than 71 Million TV Viewers Watched Trump Win”, comScore October 2016 vs October 2015; Omniture November 2016;, New York Times Adds 41,000 Subscriptions After Trump's Election”