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"One if by Land, Two if by Google."

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New Hampshire is once again taking its place as one of the two bell weathers of politics as the 2012 Presidential Race starts to heat up; especially on the GOP side. Like Iowa, the residents of the Granite State take their role as vanguards of the process quite seriously and in turn, the Republican Candidates are heading north, and lining up to shake hands across the state.

One of our clients here at Common Sense NMS is the Live Free Or Die Alliance, a non-partisan group dedicated to improving the civility of the political discourse in New Hampshire and also bringing the concept of active citizen participation back into politics. LFDA launched three years ago and is starting to gain considerable traction on issues important to local residents but now, of course, as the country's attention turns to their state, they are increasingly becoming a solid resource for on the ground New Hampshire political news.

In working on their efforts in the Granite State as the process has picked up, it's been fascinating to see the relative strength of the GOP candidates as reflected in the Google search trends of the core candidates. From this unique perspective, we can gain some insight into who has appeal at this early stage, or at the very least, who people are finding interesting enough to go onto Google and type in their name. This is important to LFDA as we helped LFDA receive a Google Grant a year or so ago, and the ability to capture and translate the political trends in search helps them grow their group. Contact us to learn how a $120,000 a year Google Grant can help your C3. For example, if more people are searching for Mitt Romney and what he is doing in New Hampshire, we can then focus the Grant efforts on words relating to Romney and introduce people to LFDA via the Grant and their interest in Romney's Campaign.

As you can see, over the past 30 days, no candidate comes remotely close to having the interest that Sarah Palin does, in terms of search globally. She clearly is far and above the other candidates, in fact, she is more interesting to those online on Google than all the other candidates combined. Of course, this doesn't mean true political support, but it does mean interest, and interest seems to be a precursor to support.

Thanks to the power of Google, we don't have to look just globally. We can look at Search Traffic in the United States and you can even dial down and look at just New Hampshire which we decided to do. Before we pulled this chart, we thought that perhaps within the Granite State, the serious but relatively unknown candidates like Jon Huntsman might pull a little better but just the opposite is true. Within the borders of NH, Palin is even more dominant than she is globally.

But before any Palin fans start planning their trip to Washington for the Inauguration, let's look at what people are searching for in terms of their favorite candidate, and the answer is our post title. So the interest in Sarah Palin is being driven most recently by her gaffe in Boston, not by pure interest in her campaign.

We'll keep tracking the trends in New Hampshire but remember, Google Insights is free and available to all. When you are looking at your organization or your company and want to learn more about what people want, what they are looking for or even where they are searching from, Google can give you a lot of valuable information instantly.

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