AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Election Day is less than seven weeks away, and data from Google Trends shows which candidates are most searched for.
To help voters make their decisions, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and challenger Beto O’Rourke (D) will meet for a televised debate hosted by Nexstar Media Group at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Friday, Sept. 30.
This will be their only face-to-face debate during the campaign ahead of Election Day, Nov. 8.
The debate will air live across the state. To find where you can view the debate yourself, click here.
Before then, we’re already getting an idea of which candidates voters are most interested in — or at least, which candidates they’re Googling the most.
The chart below shows Google search trends within Texas for both Abbott and O’Rourke.
According to Google, the numbers represent search interest relative to the peak interest. So, a value of 100 is the peak popularity for that search term during the past 12 months.
Peak interest for both candidates came the week of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, in which 19 students and two teachers were killed.
A related peak for O’Rourke came in August, after he cursed at a heckler during a campaign rally in which he was discussing gun control in the wake of the shooting. The O’Rourke campaign identified the man as an Abbott supporter. Abbott’s campaign said he was not affiliated with the campaign in any way.
Other than Uvalde, the peaks in searches for Abbott were more related to acts he took as governor rather than a campaigner.
An initial peak in October came after he banned COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Texas, and another peak followed in February when he directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate families who provided gender-affirming care to transgender children as potential child abuse.
Data from Google Trends also shows more Texans are searching for voter registration information as Election Day nears.
Google searches within Texas increased briefly around the time of the Uvalde shooting as well as after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June.
Interest in voter registration has increased exponentially over the past month as the deadline to register — Oct. 11 — approaches.