April 23rd, 2008
11:20 AM ET

Web Searches May Hint at Late Decider Votes

Leslie Sanchez
spokesman and deputy press secretary at the Republican National Committee during the 2000 presidential campaign,
Author, “Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics and Republicans Need Each Other.”

Many of you have emailed my website, LeslieSanchez.com, asking about the Yahoo News search data I mentioned last night on CNN.

Like I said, according to the folks at Yahoo News that I spoke with, the most recent local "search buzz" stats for Pennsylvania (as of yesterday) show that users in city after city searched the word "Obama" four times as much as they did the word "Clinton." They were more curious about Obama from one end of the state to the other:

Obama's percentages vs. Clinton:

  • Philadelphia – Obama 83% vs. Clinton 17% (Clinton up 4.3% since last week)
  • Pittsburgh – Obama 81.4% vs. Clinton 18.6% (Clinton up 9.3% since last week)
  • Harrisburg – Obama 83.7% vs. Clinton 16.3% (Clinton up 6% since last week)
  • Allentown – Obama 88.9% vs. Clinton 11.1% (Obama up 1.4% since last week)
  • Scranton – Obama 82.4% vs. Clinton 17.6% (Obama up 3.8% since last week)
  • State of Pennsylvania – Obama 78% vs. Clinton 20% (Clinton up 1% since last week)
  • United States – Obama 80% vs. Clinton 17% (Obama up 3% since last

The problem for Obama was that his negative-related searches—searches of terms "Rev. Wright" and "bitter," for instance – outnumbered all searches for Clinton by a margin of 7 to 1. While folks followed the rumor mill with Obama, even searching his name with Brad Pitt after reports surfaced they may be related, Clinton searchers predominantly focused on policy-related matters like “health care” and “economy.”

Was this by accident or did the Clinton PR machine masterfully play Republican politics and drive interest on silly or episodic wedge issues? Either way, the results bode well for Clinton.

CNN exit polls show of the 18 percent of voters who decided their vote the final three days, Clinton handily won those voters 58% to 42%.

For more information, check Yahoo's website:

Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Leslie Sanchez • Raw Politics
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. HMMM

    this goes out for both Hilary/Obama supporters .. many of you are saying if your candidate doesn’t win the nomination …. you’re jumping ship and voting Republican ……… (You all are the ones who voted for Bush two terms and see what he did to America’s economy etc) ….. and we all know Mc Cain is going continue the same Bush Policy .. both democratic candidates share the same policies so who ever wins the nomination … democrats should be backing the winner …. this shows that many of you are not voting on the issues .. you all are voting out anger/hate/revenge (all things negative)

    Many say if MC Cain win the Election .. they are going to purchase a bumper sticker stating “don’t blame me i didn’t vote for Obama/Clinton” … the stickers should say instead “blame me i voted Mc Cain because my democratic candidate didn’t with the nomination”


    see my logic ?



    April 24, 2008 at 12:45 am |
  2. Robert Bor

    We speak to the matter that Obama cannot attract the blue collar workers, and we collectively credit Clinton as having the ability to reach out to those very voters. What amazes me is that the matter of race is not discussed. Is it not possible that THAT is the matter at hand, the factor that the blue collar folks could not, and would not admit.

    April 23, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  3. Carla Ontario Canada

    @joanne and Karen, I totally agree with you. Also if the media had done its job and vetted Obama from the beginning then people would know him better. I have learned more about Obama on the internet in the last 3 months and I don't like what I see.
    I would support Hillary (if I could vote). Here in Canada 3 out 4 people prefer democrats( in case your interested)
    Why do people keep saying for her to drop out, you don't quit a race in the middle of it.
    Let people vote and count FL/MI.
    I truly believe that the media networks like to spin all this and add fuel to the fire to keep everyone begging for more. But with the internet, we can go anywhere and do our own research.
    Obama doesn't like to answer questions about his past/associates so how else can we learn about him, but go surfing.
    Congratulations to Hillary and I HOPE she goes ALL THE WAY!!

    P.S. CNN please get ride of Jamal he does not make any sense.

    April 23, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  4. Amber

    There is a real reason why Obama has more search hits; we don't know Obama. I consistently hear him say "I have a plan" yet rarely hear the plan. What I do hear about Obama is his 'gaffs' . Hence the reason people search for the info about them. Makes perfectly logical sense to me. If Obama supporters spent more time and energy to put his plans and ideas on issues out there they would see better hits. They need to move beyond just the idea of change if they want to win a general election. What are they going to change?

    I think the old adage about "the devil you know" is holding true for Obama particularly in blue collar workers. Yes they want change but they want to know exactly what the change is. Change is not a new concept in politics. Rallys that raise people up and get them excited only last so long, real life intrudes fast.

    I think the superdelegates need to decide whether they truly want a democrat to win in November or if they want to simply go with the guy they like.
    This blue collar 'Reagan Democrat' is more of a risk than Obama supporters want to admit. Republicans are much more likely to sway this type of voter than the ones Obama has for a base. It's the reason they got the nickname!
    The new voters that Obama keeps pulling in are great but how many of them will still be excited in November? For how many will they simple be too busy to vote? How many of them will simply stay home if Obama is not the candidate versus showing up to vote for McCain?

    These are the serious questions. The popular vote is close, delegates are close, Hillary leads in Superdelegates.

    As for the Yahoo news results; Obama has been campaigning for over a year and the main thing people ask about are his 'gaffs'. Whose fault is it really? Blame the media all you want but if Obama's plans and messages were really out for the American people after over a year of campaigning the American people would know it.

    April 23, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    In the weeks prior to Pennsylvania all the pundits and media said was that Hilary needed to win by a healthy margin, preferably a double digit margin to stay a viable candidate. Last night as I listened to these same pundits and media wonks they reported her win, analyzed it, analyzed some of Obama's problems, but then downplayed Clinton's win saying that Obama still was ahead. I think you would have to be living under a rock not to know that Obama is still ahead – but Hilary is gaining momentum. Hilary did what the pundits said she needed to do – so why still negative on her? Can we at least give her credit for the win she had to have?

    The more I find out about Obama the less I like him. I also have never cared for how liberal he is; I much prefer Hilary's conservative approach.. Will I vote for either of them? I don't know – I am very impressed with the honor, honesty, and integrity of McCain. At this point I'm not writing any of them off as choices – wish the press would do the same.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    April 23, 2008 at 9:23 pm |
  6. Karen

    I live in Indiana. This evening I saw my first campaign ad sponsored by the Obama camp. I couldn't believe the negativity.

    This is all so sad. I am a Clinton supporter but it comes down to this:
    Hillary can't be as hated as CNN would have us believe or she wouldn't be getting the votes. It is obvious to anyone with a brain that CNN (with the exception of Lou Dobbs) is campaigning for Obama.
    Obama isn't perfect but I believe he is trying to do the right thing. He has made some major mistakes but for some reason CNN gives hime a pass on any faux pas.

    Good grief–give the woman her due. She did win Pennsylvania. Let her at least have 24 hours to enjoy it before you start with the criticism. But, the primary wasn't even over before the the panelists were laying out why she can never win. Nice going. Do you truly believe we're so ignorant we can't see the bias?

    I think the bloggers would do well to remember that each of us has an opinion and attacking others for their viewpoint shows your limited understanding of the issues.

    April 23, 2008 at 8:20 pm |
  7. Jeffery J. Roth

    First off I have always voted Republican. This year may be different as my vote may go to Obama. What really does a president do? They have to be motivational, dictate a course to their various constituants of varying parties. Even at times those factions can be at odds over a presidents own affiliation. I think Obama has that ability and not polarizing as Ms Clinton. I think he can reach across the diffence and bridge an agreement of what is best for America. I am of a time when the excuss was a "right wing conspiracy" and now the "media is tough on my poor wife". Think of all those entitlements yet released or all that money going to the "library". I see a comment that Obama is far "left left tax and spend". OK. Clinton supports health care for everyone and Obama doesn't. OK. If you do not pay for health care – either your stupid or can't afford it – the Gov't will take money away from you as a "penalty". Isn't penalty another word for tax? Have not we taxed the people that can least afford it. Isn't that tax and spend with your good friends benefiting? The first Clinton Health Care Reform missed the Florida "Sunshine Law". We missed who was involved I
    and don't see lobbyists piling on. Tax on people that can' least afford it? Good going lets support this! Next, all this money Obama is getting? Must be George Skoris, or whom ever, hand writing on the wall it is "little people" , day to day, that believe. What is the power of that vote? Please, I love this country, let's stop for a second and think this out.

    April 23, 2008 at 7:44 pm |
  8. philofficer

    Sure, Barak, held to the standard of Messiah, falls short. But let's not forget Hillary's negatives. Of the three remaining candidates, she is the most hated, the least trusted. Can someone with a 55% negative rating really win the presidency? Her considerable flaws are old news while Barak's distractors jump on his every foible.

    April 23, 2008 at 6:47 pm |
  9. Joselito

    Yahoo is not the only search engine. Not all voters have Internet access or cell phones. Were these reliable sites or blogs? Be more scientific because your effort was...well...What was your point?

    April 23, 2008 at 6:37 pm |
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