As we noted previously, you can learn a lot about national sentiment from exploring Google Trends. Just type in a search term and you can see how much interest that term is garnering over time. With the recent rhetoric battle between President Trump and North Korea, interest in the term “World War 3” reached the peak of engagement once again.
Here is the chart from Google Trends over the past 7 days. Note the spike on Tuesday compared to the minimal interest the prior several days:
The comments from President Trump about meeting North Korea with “fire and fury” were breaking Tuesday afternoon, with most people probably seeing them play on evening news casts and cable news. As a result, the trend reached full interest at 10pm ET Tuesday evening:
During the same time as “world war 3” seaching spiked, similar spikes can be seen for related terms like “trump nuclear war”:
Obviously search terms will follow the news when it comes to current events, but it’s interesting to see what kind of information people are looking for. These trends can reflect our fears, as shown above, but they can also reflect our desires:
Google provides a mountain of data to sort through, and some it might be meaningless, but some of it might be worth looking at. When examining opinion polls, it’s small subset of people who get chosen to answers questions. When looking at search engine trend data, we have the opportunity to look at what millions of people are seeking, which might tell us more about national mood than polling.