Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gauging Public Mood With Google Trends

Google has a bunch of neat tools in their Labs, one of which is Trends, which provides statistics on search terms going back to 2004.  Using Trends, one can get an idea of what is piquing the public interest and when.  I went and entered a few search strings to see what I'd find, with the results below.  My Trends searches were limited to results originating within the United States.

Take, for example, the search term "assault rifle." (Click the thumbnail for a full size graph.)


We can see that there was a spike around September 2004, which is when the Federal Assault Weapons Ban sunset, with another uptick -- sustained this time -- since Barack Obama won the election back in November.  Last Saturday I was at my local gun monger (Surplus City in Feasterville, PA) and the owner told me that business continues to be brisk while his ability to restock remains a problem.  Long time gun owners like myself have been buying, but so have been a lot of new people concerned with the economy and their future access to firearms.  Gun sales have been about the only bright spot in a dismal economy.

"Economic collapse" and "stock market crash" are a couple of other interesting terms to enter to see what Americans are thinking about.



Naturally, people are worried about the economy and have been, especially since September when the first talk of Federal bailouts started being heard.  We've also seen an increase in concern about the stock market since Obama got elected.  I wonder what happens when we look for "Atlas Shrugged?"


So, Americans are increasingly worried about the economy, more interested in assault rifles, concerned about socialist leeches stealing the fruits of their labor, and maybe dropping out altogether.

Hope and change!

1 comment:

Derek said...

The next four years are going to put a lot of pressure on the 2nd amendment. We just wrote an article at Geek Politics about the assault weapons ban that you might be interested in. I have also noticed a huge amount of people in my local gun shop recently as well.