One of the fun parlor games of Election ’08 is to look at Internet data and figure out what they mean.
The answer may be "nothing," of course.
But let’s play along and look at the latest Hitwise data on popular search terms. HitWise, a company that tracks Internet traffic, counted the search words that sent people to John McCain or Barack Obama’s websites. [Here’s a press release about the findings on the candidates’ top Internet search terms.]
"Health care" didn’t make Obama’s top 5 search terms in the first quarter of 2008. In the second quarter, health care took the number 4 slot. [Q1’s top term was "gay marriage," Q2’s "abortion."]
Meantime, "health care" took the tops spots for John McCain in both Q1 and Q2.
So: Does this mean people think they already know Obama’s healthcare plan and don’t need to search about it on the Internet? Or, don’t they have much interest in the issue?
As for McCain, do the searches mean his plan is little-known and people want information on it? Or do those interested in McCain care more about healthcare than Obama’s voters?
Retreat to the parlor and discuss, please.