Google Trends: Social Movements and Presidential Elections
Link to interactive chart
In the above graph we are shown the Google trends for the search topics, Black Lives Matter, Police, and George Floyd. I set the search time from the past 12 months to represent the recent events circulating police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement in the year of 2020. As we can see from the data, Police are typically searched on a daily basis, ranging around 25 searches a day, but this changes on the May 31st through June 6th 2020.
Both George Floyd and Police were searched over 90% that day, with George Floyd being at the top 100 searches and the Police at 98 searches. This is due to the traumatic event of George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020. This incident of police brutality caused uproar for change in the police system and addressing systemic racism.
Black Lives Matter, however only has a brief timing between May 24th through June 20th where it had some popularity in google searches. It reached its highest point at 34 searches May 1st through June 6th. I believe that the reason that Black Lives Matter has not surged as much as a Google trend, because it is discussed mainly on social media. For example, Twitter is a widely known platform used to promote activism on the #BLM movement. So it’s possible that the topic is popular on social media versus Google.
Link to interactive chart
In the above graph, I compared the Google search terms, Obama, Trump and Biden, throughout the years of March 2004 through March 2021. The reason I chose this time range was because I wanted to evaluate which recent president was searched the most throughout the last 15+ years. The first large increase we see is with Obama starting January 2008, at 14 searches, reaching its highest point at 54 searches November 2008, then staying very stagnant after 2009.
We then see a huge increase in Trump, starting in August 2015 with 13 searches, which reaches its highest point on November 16th 2016, with 100 searches. This was likely due to him winning the presidency in 2016 and the controversial ideas he would share in his campaigns that caused his searches to increase.Trump continues to trend even until recently in March 2021 with 18 searches.
Lastly, for Biden we see his number of searches remain very low throughout the years. Biden does not receive a peak until November 2021, at 47 searches, which is still lower than Trump’s which was 65 searches, even though he did not win the 2020 presidential election. Trump remains the most searched president, and we can hypothesize that this is due to his extreme ideas and Tweets that cause him to be searched by many people, whether they do or don’t support him.