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.