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Americans are Taking an Interest in Health Care (Updated)

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, March 23 2010

Google Searches for Health Care from March 15th through March 20th




Adding some weight to the argument that many Americans are only just now tuning into the health care debate, the number one "Hot Topic" in the United States according to Google trends is, at the moment, a few hours after the signing of the health care bill, "What is in the health care bill?"

Adding perhaps more weight: the Google Trend maps to the right showing the increase of interest in health care over the course from March 15th through March 20th, which was this Saturday (the day that the most current data is available). Searches for "health care" and related terms markedly increased across the country over the course of the week. That said, interest, it seems, never picked up in the Montana-Wyoming-Dakotas region.

When you're in the day-to-day throes of politics, it's easy to overestimate how much normal people are paying attention to the details, even when you think you're self-correcting down for attention levels. Not for nothing is hot topic #2 in Google Search "Sandra Bullock Jesse James." But part of this whole discussion of how Internet is changing politics has to be how people are using the Internet to simply make sense of politics.

Google Hot Topics three and four this afternoon, respectively, "Republicans" and "GOP." It's not immediately clear how that should be interpreted, but a gut reaction is that that's an encouraging sign for those on the right.

Update: Last this afternoon, the White House answered the call with a post on the White Houe blog, titled "What's in the Health Care Bill?"

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