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Who Won? The Winners and Losers of the GOP Debate as Told by Google

Insights September 17, 2015

Last night’s GOP debate had a full stage of eleven presidential hopefuls looking to stand out in a crowded field as we move closer and closer to the primaries and caucuses.

Last month’s debate was a ratings boon for FoxNews, and last night’s installment on CNN was no different. But those who missed out on the debate will likely turn to Google to see how their favorite (or least favorite) candidate faired. With debate performances being spun every which way by pundits and campaigns, there is a lot of content out there to digest when attempting to determine what actually happened. Google can only make so much of this content easily and readily available to users and to best satisfy the intent of a user, the search giant has a feature in place to make timely articles easy to find. Its “In the news” section is likely to play a big role in shaping the response to the debate performances. Let’s take a look at an example of this section:

1. In the News

Google often supersedes its full list of organic search results with a few relevant news articles:

GOP-inthenews

2. Organic Search Results

The second element we will explore is the standard organic search results.

So as those who missed the debate wake up this morning and head in to work, many will decide to Google a candidate. Google’s algorithm will help shape their opinion of the candidate(s) and his or her performance Wednesday night. With the two factors listed above at play, let’s take a look at what Google is showing its users.

Note: These are 8:30 am EST snapshots and may have changed over time. Candidates are presented in their debate stage order, which is based on CNN’s polls.

Donald Trump

In the News:

GOP-DTrump-News

Organic: No post-debate material on the first page of Google.

Ben Carson

In the News:

GOP-BCarson-News

Organic: No post-debate material on the first page of Google.

Jeb Bush

In the News:

GOP-JBush-News

Organic:

GOP-JBush-Organic

Scott Walker

In the News:

GOP-SWalker-News

Organic:

GOP-SWalker-Organic

Ted Cruz

In the News:

GOP-TCruz-News

Organic: No post-debate material on the first page of Google.

Marco Rubio

In the News:

GOP-MRubio-News

Organic:

GOP-MRubio-Organic

Carly Fiorina

In the News:

GOP-CFiorina-News

Organic: No post-debate material on the first page of Google.

Mike Huckabee

In the News:

GOP-MHuckabee-News

Organic: No post-debate material on the first page of Google.

John Kasich

In the News:

GOP-JKasich-News

Organic:

GOP-JKasich-Organic1
GOP-JKasich-Organic2

Rand Paul

In the News:

GOP-RPaul-News

Organic:

GOP-RPaul-Organic

Chris Christie

In the News:

GOP-CChristie-news

Organic: No post-debate material on the first page of Google.

Search Interest

Fast Company tweeted out search data from Google Trends that showed the top five searched candidates during the debate about 70 minutes in. Fiorina and Trump led the way.

GOP-FastCompanyData

So who won the debate? Let’s summarize.

Google’s Debate Winners

Chris Christie

According to Google, Christie earned points for his final response of the night and for his remarks on the struggles of the middle class. His attack on Hillary Clinton was also heavily featured. With the news results focusing on his remarks and talking points, he’s a debate winner.

Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina aggressively went after Donald Trump which became a big takeaway in the news articles Google is showing about her performance, with the New York Post even saying she made her case to be the frontrunner.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s news results wouldn’t have landed him in the winner’s circle, but the businessman stuck to his mantra, brawling with the other candidates, which led to his inclusion in the search results of other candidates.

Google’s Debate Losers

Jeb Bush

Bush’s night is being highlighted in Google as a missed opportunity when attacking Donald Trump, and his admission to smoking marijuana forty years ago.

Ted Cruz

Huffington Post published an article titled, “Ted Cruz Introduces Himself to GOP Debate Audience, Gets Literally Zero Applause.” Ouch.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee’s top news result included a reference to Josh Duggar, who is currently embroiled in a molestation controversy. Another news result implies that he’s advocating to ignore the Supreme Court in the case of Kim Davis. Too much controversy in such a small space.

John Kasich

John Kasich’s results ask where he was, state that he levied a false attack, and that he was a loser of the debate.

Scott Walker

Here’s one of your Trump victims, with Scott Walker being “chewed up” by The Donald. Politico added that his night was a “swing and a miss.” Not a good night for the Wisconsin governor according to Google.

Google’s Average-Joes

  • Ben Carson
  • Rand Paul
  • Marco Rubio
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