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Like so many of us, I’ve followed the career of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with unusual interest. But lately it seems that I haven’t been reading or hearing as much about her as I had for most of her first months in Congress, when the first-term New York City House Member clearly established herself as one of the nation’s most influential lawmakers, a leader of the Democratic Party, and a social and legacy media superstar.

So I decided to check some data sources to see if my hunch was right, and was flabbergasted to come up with completely contradictory findings. On balance, however, the evidence tilts toward declining public interest. 

My methodology? Examining statistics from the Bing and Google search engines to see whether terms like her “AOC” nickname and “Ocasio-Cortez” have been sought out for more or less frequently since her election in November, 2018.

According to Bing, which permits folks to see the actual worldwide search numbers over various time periods, appetites for information about AOC have been steadily strengthening. Here are the monthly statistics from last November through today for “AOC” searches and for “Ocasio-Cortez” searches:

                                                      “AOC”       “Ocasio-Cortez”      total

Nov. 2018:                                         224K                346K              570K

Dec. 2018:                                         174K                202K              376K

Jan. 2019:                                          307K                342K              649K

Feb. 2019:                                         422K                350K              772K

March 2019:                                      383K                332K             715K

April 2019:                                        381K                298K             679K

May 2019:                                         474K                373K             847K

June 2019:                                         557K                442K             999K

July 2019:                                         791K                 869K          1660K

Aug. 2019:                                        817K                 761K          1578K

Sept 2019:                                        662K                  284K           946K

But the Google findings are very different. Google doesn’t enable calculating actual numbers of searches by month (unless I’m missing something – which is all too possible). Instead, it presents “search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term.”

For “AOC,” that peak popularity was hit between this past July 14 and July 20 – which matches the Bing findings pretty well. The likely explanation? That was when President Trump sent out his series of tweets urging Ocasio-Cortez and the three other progressive female (and non-white) House members comprising the so-called “Squad” to “go back” to their own countries.

The second highest peak, a reading of 82, came between this past February 24 and March 2 – which finds very confirmation with the Bing results, but only some.

But since late July, according to this measure, the numbers of AOC searches have sunk like a stone. The reading for the six days following July 20 was only 59. During the period after, it fell to 39, and between September 15 and 21, was only 33. The Bing results indicate no such drop-off.

Interestingly, the Google data for “Ocasio-Cortez” point to more overall searches than for “AOC.” But the highest peaks by far (and there were three between 89 and 100 as opposed to only one for “AOC”) came much earlier – between November, 2018 and this past February. The highest score for that peak ”AOC” mid-July Trump tweet period was only 39. The latest “Ocasio-Cortez” figure? Only a six.

I’d be the last one to count out Ocasio-Cortez – if only because she’s so young and for that reason alone, still boasts so much potential for reinvention(s), But with Google a much more popular search engine than Bing, and with an intensifying presidential campaign likely to take even more of the spotlight from her, there’s at least a case to be made that, for the time being, Peak AOC has arrived.