Gary Johnson

More Seeking Out Info on Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson Than in 2012

But the numbers pale against the searches for Trump and Clinton.

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Gary Johnson
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Just before the Libertarian Party's national convention on Memorial Day weekend, I made note that there was a huge uptick in interest on Google looking for information about Libertarian Party and Gov. Gary Johnson. At the time there were more than 600 stories about the convention showing up in Google news searches. By the end of that weekend, they would number more than 2,000.

Now that it's over, it's worth checking again to make sure it's not just a spike due to the convention coverage. A new set of Google search trend numbers suggests that it's not. There are more searches for both the Libertarian Party and Gary Johnson than there were at this time back in 2012. In fact, there are more searches for the Libertarian Party right now than in June there were in November 2012 at the time of the election.

To build off our last post, here's a graph that combines historical interest in searches for the Libertarian Party and Gary Johnson. The blue line is for the party; the red line is for Johnson:

Johnson/Libertarian Party
Google Trends

A quick explanation of the lack of numbers on the graph for the Y-Axis: Google doesn't provide actual numbers of searches. It picks the point of highest interest in a search term over a time period and labels it as 100. All other data points are proportionally mapped in relation to that highest point. The best performance on that chart shows that Gary Johnson saw the most searches in November 2012. That makes sense. But it's also worth noting that far more people are interested in information about Johnson than the Libertarian Party.

Now, on the far right of the chart, that spikes that are building for both Johnson and the party are much higher than they were at this time in 2012. And while the post-convention searches are slowing a little bit, they are still on the rise. Johnson, notably, is still getting a whole lot of media attention and more inclusion in polls.

And now, to be Captain BringDown. Or at least Captain HereIsWhatThey'reUpAgainst. I added Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to the same chart to see how Johnson and the Libertarian Party stack up. Hillary Clinton is the yellow line. Donald Trump is the green.

Clinton and Trump search chart
Google Trends

Yowch. Yes, the red and blue lines are still there down at the bottom. They're just completely overwhelmed by the interest in information about Clinton and most especially Trump.

Keep in mind that Google searches don't necessarily result in people coming away with fonder opinions about Trump or Clinton. The two of them are record-setting for being disliked, more so than any other candidate in the past 10 election cycles.

Rather, the point of this chart is really to highlight the huge gap in self-directed knowledge-hunting about Johnson and the Libertarian Party, even as they see a huge blitz in media attention. This is why Johnson keeps telling people to Google his name. Even though so many Americans are repulsed by Clinton and Trump, they are not yet hip to the third-party alternative that will be showing up on the ballot in all 50 states.

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  1. What is there to google with Hillary? Who doesn’t know what she’s all about at this point?

    1. Current polling numbers, popular vote lead over Sanders (>3M), developments in the FBI case against her?

    2. Nobody knows what Hillary’s about on any one day. It all depends on who was in charge of her programming that day. She’s only barely more consistent than Trump.

  2. This is demonstrates the point I was making when Matt Welch got very snippy with me.

    The Reason coverage of the LP convention was pathetic in that it seemed to believe that the convention was consequential in some way.

    It wasn’t.

    In 5 years, I expect the convention will be as forgotten and little noticed as the one that produced Badnarik.

    Throughout my entire adult life, I’ve watched voters cast ballots for candidates who promised to make government less corrupt and less oppressive towards the little guy. I’ve watched the government coopt, blunt, repel, distract or utterly shit upon all of these reformist movements.

    The incentives and realities that make the LP irrelevant haven’t changed in the past 4 years.

    Just because the desire people have for this cycle to be different is particularly ardent in no way changes that fact. Ardor does not alter reality. And the reality is that the administrative state is in no way is going to be affected by this election. The pork will still flow to the crony capitalists. The monetary policy will still be set to monetize federal debt. And the foreign policy guys will still childishly play their games of intrigue.

    1. “Readers asked for coverage, readers read coverage, outsiders valued coverage and asked many follow-up questions. Your opinion on the consequentiality of the LP does not change the fact that we aim to keep the customers satisfied.”

      Whoa!

    2. If a Reason writer doesn’t get snippy with you at some point, you’re not playing hard enough. Think of it as a reverse hat-tip.

    3. You accidentally cut the first sentence of your comment:

      I’d like to say this one last time, then I am going to keep my peace on the matter.

      1. It wasn’t accidental, it was purposeful. 🙂

  3. RE: More Seeking Out Info on Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson Than in 2012
    But the numbers pale against the searches for Trump and Clinton.

    Evidently the indoctrination and brainwashing in the government public school monopolies and re-education camps are wearing off.
    Those seeking information about freedom, personal responsibility and financial independence must report to their local secret police headquarters for corrective action.
    It’s not too late.

  4. Gary Johnson needs to spend money right NOW.

    My own idea is a decentralized flashmob using yard signs. Send a yard sign to every registered Libertarian voter. Have them put them in their yard for 1-2 days at selected times this summer when the media will be focusing on Trump/Clinton (eg their conventions). Long enough to create a bit of a tipping point mindset and get name recognition out there. Short enough so that the signs don’t get stolen and D/R can’t respond. THAT is what will ramp up the polling numbers – not some BS media appearances that at this time are only being watched by political junkies.

  5. He has no chance.

    He’s too conservative on issues like abortion. Being pro-gay-marriage, and pro-drug-legalization will not convince Sanders supporters who want free shit, a higher minimum wage, and are anti-NAFTA.
    And the majority of the GOP will line up behind Trump because they are good team players.

    People may hate Clinton, she may be corrupt, but for the majority of the country the race is shaping up to be no alternative to Clinton. Trump clearly isn’t faking being a vile idiot.

    1. GJ says he’s anti-NAFTA too. Too much cronyism is his complaint.

  6. He has no chance.

    He’s too conservative on issues like abortion. Being pro-gay-marriage, and pro-drug-legalization will not convince Sanders supporters who want free shit, a higher minimum wage, and are anti-NAFTA.
    And the majority of the GOP will line up behind Trump because they are good team players.

    People may hate Clinton, she may be corrupt, but for the majority of the country the race is shaping up to be no alternative to Clinton. Trump clearly isn’t faking being a vile idiot.

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