Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Google Trends and "Nuclear Energy"

I've been spending some time recently with a great little Google widget (redundant, no?) called Google Trends. More robust than Google Zeitgeist, GT (acronyms abound!) allows the user to see keyword search results over time. Even better, one can break searches out by country, state, and city.

After plugging in the phrase, "Washington Capitals, best team in the NHL," and coming up empty, I searched "nuclear energy." Connecticut tops the list in 2008. (The full results from 2008 YTD searches can be found here.) What jumped out was Pennsylvania's place at #4. Indeed, going back to 2004, residents of PA rank #8 of those searching Google for information on nuclear energy.

How often have we heard nuclear energy policy discussed by the presidential candidates in the run up to the Pennsylvania primary? Or Ohio? Or Michigan? Not much. A Nexis and Westlaw search confirms this. In a presidential campaign where personality appears to matter more than policy, how often have we heard any policy issue seriously debated?

Perhaps moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos will change all that tonight at the debate in Philadelphia. Perhaps.

Update: The reviews are in and they're...not good: WaPo, NY Times, Boston Globe.

1 comment:

jes said...

Perhaps not. The Weathermen? Imaginary choices for their Vice Presidents? We haven't heard a debate with these candidates in almost two months and this is the best ABC could come up with?