Tulsi Gabbard and Cory Booker emerged as winners of the first Democratic debate, according to Google Trends

  • On Wednesday night, 10 of the Democratic presidential candidates participated in the first debate of the 2020 election.
  • Though some candidates stood out more than others, there’s a way to get an idea which candidates provoked the strongest response from viewers, at least when it comes to online searches: Google Trends.
  • During the debate, interest in Julián Castro surged on Google Trends – but Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was one clear winner based on her relative spike in search traffic.
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The first debate of the 2020 US presidential campaign took place Wednesday night in Miami, and it featured 10 of the Democratic hopefuls.

With so many candidates vying for attention – 10 more candidates are scheduled to appear in a second debate Thursday night – it can be hard to know who voters were most interested in.

But Google Trends has two suggestions: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.

Google Trends of first 2020 US presidential debate (Democratic primary)

The little-known congresswoman from Hawaii saw the largest spikes in search traffic from Americans during Wednesday night’s debate. Booker had the second-largest spike, followed closely by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the highest-polling candidate who took the stage Wednesday.

The most searched candidate by volume was Booker, with Gabbard picking up second place. Interest in Booker was strongest in the southeastern US, while Gabbard dominated the rest of the country.

Google sent out a tweet ranking the candidates by searches during the debate:

But those are far from the only data points from Google Trends that point to viewer response to Wednesday’s debate.

Interest in the former Obama cabinet official Julián Castro “spiked +2,400% in search” during the debate, according to Google Trends.

Google Trends also highlighted a Twitter thread comparing some of the candidates’ search traffic to an unrelated but popular subject: pizza. Interest in that particular food in the US was higher than it was for the four least-searched candidates for nearly the entire two-hour debate.

Pizza vs lesser-known candidates, first democratic primary election 2020