Google Trends: Politics and Pop Culture

There has not been a shortage of news in the recent months, especially with the new Trump administration in place. When President Trump announced his travel ban at the end of January, the Google search terms “travel ban” exploded. As time went on and people began to take interest in other happenings, though, the popularity of the search terms trailed off.

For example, the 59th Grammy Awards are taking place tonight, February 12. I thought it would be interesting to see how many people are Googling “Grammy Awards” as opposed to “travel ban,” especially because the Grammys are so popular. It turns out that as of now, the Grammys are receiving more Google traffic than the travel ban is.

I was not only interested in the general trend of both searches, but also which regions the searches were coming from. I was fascinated by these maps—many countries (for example, South America, Russia, and portions of Northern and Eastern Europe) searching for the Grammys are not searching for Trump’s travel ban. Furthermore, the very countries involved in Trump’s travel ban are searching for Grammy-related news. This shows the importance of popular culture in the 21st century, even in the midst of chaos and serious political tension.Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 5.22.52 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-02-12 at 5.23.17 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-02-12 at 5.23.09 PM.png

This sparked my interest in regional Google searches on topics related to Trump’s travel ban and immigration policies. I tracked “travel ban,” “deportation,” and “illegal immigration” in the U.S. over the past year. They were all relatively stagnant over the course of 2016 until November, when they spiked due to events of the presidential election.

As of now, February 2017, these topics are being searched for a lot more frequently. Travel ban-related searches skyrocketed at the end of January, and deportation and illegal immigration-related searches are also higher than they previously have been. The U.S. searches are mainly about illegal immigration, as shown on the map below. As Trump continues to try and restrict immigration in the coming months, it will be interesting to monitor these search topics.

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