Google Trends shows U.S. searchers prefer free food to candidates

Stats junkies--get your fix over at Google's hot trends page, where you can track what people are searching for (mostly politics) as Tuesday's election results progress.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

Early Tuesday Google posted some insights on the hottest search terms, as marked on its trends site. Not surprisingly, the majority of search queries within the U.S. have been related to politics, with a staggering 87 out of the top 100 relating in some way to today's election.

What might be more amazing is that in front of information about the candidates, most searchers are simply looking for free handouts from fast food companies.

Buried within the top 100 terms are searches for fast food and drink locations like Chick-Fil-A, Ben and Jerry's, Starbucks, and Krispy Kreme--all of which are offering freebie food and drink items to customers who come in with voting stickers (which incidentally is the 20th most searched for term).

Meanwhile, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is not on the list, and presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama only make it on there once and twice, respectively.

Starbucks shows up four times.

In addition to Tuesday's results, Google has been keeping track of search trends since the beginning of September, and posted the top searches for personas, topics, and news sources. There are only a few surprises on these lists, like Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey grabbing the No. 4 spot on the personas list, just two below Palin who Fey has been impersonating on the popular late night TV show. Also, many political blogs like the Huffington Post, the Drudge Report, and Daily Kos are seemingly overtaking mainstream news sources like NBC, CBS, and ABC. (CBS is the parent company of CNET News, which publishes Webware.) CNN is No. 9 on the list.

With election season coming to a close later Tuesday (hopefully), there are still unnamed winners of search likely to be announced next month, when Google releases its end-of-year zeitgeist. In the meantime, you can continue to watch the top 100 trends page as it's likely to change throughout the day.