Sunday, May 18, 2003

The Google News Democratic Presidential Poll

This afternoon I read a comment by someone online that Howard Dean's name was getting mentioned more and more often in the news. His visibility has certainly increased since the attacks on him by both Kerry and the DLC. I was curious just how many stories out there were talking about Dean, so I went over to Google News to check it out. To be fair, I decided to compare the resulting numbers against the numbers for all the other candidates. Call this the first edition of the Google News Democratic Presidential Poll. My methodology was simple: I typed in the name, as listed below, and asked for results by most recent and then used whatever number came up. I make no claim as to how relevant these results are to reality. For one thing, I don't know anything about how Google puts together its search database (the first story I got for "John Edwards" was a story listing graduates at a local high school where one student had a last name of Edwards and another had a first name of John). If you click on each name you can repeat the search. Naturally it should produce different results since the underlying database is constantly changing.
John Kerry4370
John Edwards3610
Bob Graham2950
Howard Dean2590
Joe Lieberman1980
Dick Gephardt1720
Al Sharpton1050
Dennis Kucinich948
Carol Mosley Braun14
These rankings come down about where I would expect them. Kerry, as the nominal front-runner, probably gets an honorable mention in almost any news story on the campaign. Edwards appears to be making a big splash as well, though for what I'm not exactly sure. Graham has probably been getting a lot of ink for his direct attacks on Bush's handling of national security issues (and I applaud him for that). As a Dean supporter I am very pleased by the Governor's respectable showing. The DLC dustup probably has a lot to do with that. Lieberman and Gephardt, according to this, look to be having some trouble getting coverage. Of course, they have enough name recognition at this time that they probably don't need the press as much as does Howard Dean. Sharpton, being Sharpton, probably has a high number of stories about him just in the right-wing press. Kucinich is doing surprisingly well coming in so close to Sharpton. Braun is just pathetic. Update: I did a little investigation into this and I think the reason John Edwards comes in so high in this poll is because his name is the most likely of all the candidates to be shared with other people. Thus, any story about a random "John Edwards" will be counted in his column while the other candidates are less likely to get this kind of boost. I'm not sure how to refine the search to eliminate this problem. Any suggestions would be helpful.

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