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.


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.