Google Trends: Did Ken Bone win the second presidential debate?

By Lauren Fox

Ken Bone in his seat before the start of the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Ken Bone in his seat before the start of the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis. (Photo by Andrew Harnik)

After the second presidential debate of 2016 a large amount of discussion in the following week focused not on the statements of the two candidates but rather on the appearance and general aura of Ken Bone, the mustached audience member in the red sweater who asked this question about climate change: “What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs, while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?” It was not the question that made Bone famous, but his attention grabbing mustache, red sweater, memorable name, and disposable camera he used to snap photos after the debate.

Before appearing on television, Bone had seven Twitter followers, “2 of which were my grandmother,” he stated in an interview with CNN.

Now, he has about 231,000.

During and after the debate, Bone immediately became an Internet meme and gained the title, “American hero.”

His debate outfit became a popular Halloween costume, which even had a “sexy” option.

Some went so far as to call Bone the winner of the presidential debate.

Though Bone exploded on Twitter, how did his search trend on Google compare to other key figures in the second 2016 presidential debate? Was he truly the winner of the debate? In the following Google Trend, Bone’s search history in the week following the debate is compared to that of Trump, Clinton, moderator Anderson Cooper, and Spencer Moss, another audience member who asked a question at the debate.

Bone’s Popularity After Debate

As shown above, Bone was searched more than Cooper and Moss, but less than Trump and Clinton. However, on October 11th, two days after the debate, Bone and Clinton were even in terms of searches, and Bone remained close to Clinton for the rest of the week. So, while Bone may not have truly won the utmost attention from the second debate, he certainly made a run for his money.


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