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Most Popular Google Autocomplete Search Results for the Nation's 50 Governors

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While most top gubernatorial Google autocomplete search results are mundane, "Nazi," "racist," "birth certificate," and "death panel" define some governors

When Google changed their search term process to include an "autocomplete" algorithm, it may have introduced a time-saving process, but it has perhaps also more firmly entrenched controversial statements made by politicians in the public discourse.

The autocomplete feature offers top search results that might be similar to the one in which a user is interested, and works thusly, from Google's site:

"As you type, Google's algorithm predicts and displays search queries based on other users' search activities. These searches are algorithmically determined based on a number of purely objective factors (including popularity of search terms) without human intervention. All of the predicted queries shown have been typed previously by Google users. The autocomplete dataset is updated frequently to offer fresh and rising search queries. In addition, if you're signed in to your Google Account and have Web History enabled, you may see search queries from relevant searches that you've done in the past."

A Smart Politics study utilized Google's autocomplete function in an analysis of what top queries are generated after typing in the full first and last names of each of the nation's 50 governors.

The top Google autocomplete results for most governors fall into one of approximately a half-dozen categories.

The results for nine governors - mostly newly-elected in 2010 - were related to gubernatorial inaugurations or inaugural addresses: Mike Beebe of Arkansas, John Hickenlooper (Colorado), Terry Branstad (Iowa), Deval Patrick (Massachusetts), Mary Fallin (Oklahoma), Lincoln Chafee (Rhode Island), Bill Haslam (Tennessee), Peter Shumlin (Vermont), and Matt Mead (Wyoming).

Another seven governors generated "State of the State" - an autocomplete query that will probably fall out of the top spot as the calendar gets further removed from the beginning of the year when such addresses were delivered.

Governors whose State of the State address were the first autocomplete result include Jack Markell of Delaware, Butch Otter (Idaho), Rick Snyder (Michigan), Brian Sandoval (Nevada), Chris Christie (New Jersey), Andrew Cuomo (New York), and Nikki Haley (South Carolina).

The top Google autocomplete query for six governors actually yielded substantive policy issues.

Five gubernatorial searches produced "Budget" as the top result - Jerry Brown of California, Rick Scott (Florida), Beverly Perdue (North Carolina), Dennis Daugaard (South Dakota), and Christine Gregoire (Washington) - while Virginia's Bob McDonnell spawned "transportation."

McDonnell had released a comprehensive statewide transportation plan on his website during his 2009 campaign.

Five newly-elected governors - all from states that saw a change in partisan control of the governor's office - yielded top Google autocomplete terms related to "transition" or a "transition team": Dan Malloy of Connecticut, Sam Brownback (Kansas), Mark Dayton (Minnesota), Susana Martinez (New Mexico), and Tom Corbett (Pennsylvania).

The top results for four additional governors simply yielded "Wiki" - with the top link directing the user to each governor's respective Wikipedia page: Robert Bentley of Alabama, Martin O'Malley (Maryland), John Lynch (New Hampshire), and Rick Perry (Texas).

(Though "John Lynch" actually returned a Wiki index page as there have been other prominent individuals with the same name (e.g. the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer)).

Other more mundane top autocomplete results include:

· "Bio" for Alaska's Sean Parnell, Dave Heineman (Nebraska), and John Kasich (Ohio)
· "Governor" for Illinois' Pat Quinn and West Virginia's Earl Ray Tomblin
· And Jack Dalrymple and Gary Herbert simply yielded autocomplete terms of the states in which they serve ("North Dakota" and "Utah" respectively).

Autocomplete results for three governors, however, returned very political queries.

Kentucky's Steve Beshear came back with the phrase, "For Governor."

The Democratic incumbent will be on the ballot this November as he tries to win a second term in the Republican-leaning state.

As a result, Beshear has a very active campaign website.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels - one of the rumored and buzzworthy 2012 Republican presidential candidates - returned a top autocomplete query of "PAC."

And, in the it's-never-too-early department, Montana Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer's top Google result was "2016."

Schweitzer gave a rousing speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The governor is term-limited and will not be on the Montana gubernatorial ballot in 2012.

The remaining nine governors returned autcomplete results wholly unique to their particular situations (and, for some, controversies).

On the innocuous side, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's first autosuggestion was "book" - in reference to Leadership and Crisis - a book he authored that hit the market in late 2010.

Missouri's Democratic governor Jay Nixon returned "assassination." This autocomplete query is in reference to a September 2010 reported attempt on Nixon's life when a college student slashed the throat of the Dean at Metropolitan Community College - mistaking the dean for Nixon.

Google's top autocomplete query for Hawaii's new governor, Democrat Neil Abercrombie, is "birth certificate" - in reference to the continuing birther controversy regarding President Barack Obama.

Reports came out early in Abercrombie's term in mid-January that suggested he could not find the birth record in the files at the Hawaii Department of Health.

Oregon's Democratic Governor, John Kitzhaber, produces an autocomplete query of "girlfriend" at the top of his list.

Kitzhaber's girlfriend, green energy consultant Cylvia Hayes, received attention when she expressed interest in holding political office should Kitzhaber win the 2010 election.

Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who has been the most covered governor in the country in 2011, does not have "labor" or "union" as his top autosuggestion, but instead "prank call."

Walker was duped by a journalist posing as a Republican contributor in a 20-minute conversation two weeks ago - with audio files circulating to numerous websites on the Internet.

The autocomplete results for the remaining four Republican governors are more controversial: Arizona's Jan Brewer, Maine's Paul LePage, Georgia's Nathan Deal, and Missisippi's Haley Barbour.

Brewer received media coverage a few months ago when it was reported that her decision to cut state health care benefits resulted in the death of a patient at Tuscon University Medical Center who did not receive a liver transplant after being dropped from a waiting list.

As a result Brewer's top autocomplete query is "death panel."

Newly-elected Paul LePage of Maine stirred up controversy in January around Martin Luther King Day and, as a result, "NAACP" is his first query result.

LePage told a meeting of business leaders in January that he would not meet with the NAACP because they are a special interest group.

When asked whether his refusal to meet with the group would be seen as a racial issue, he said, ""Tell 'em to kiss my butt. If they want to play the race card, come to dinner and my son will talk to them."

LePage's adopted son was born in Jamaica and is black.

First-term Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia has the unfortunate term "Nazi" come up as his first autocomplete query, after an Atlanta (Spanish-language) newspaper published a doctored photo of the Republican that depicted him in a Nazi uniform with a Hitler mustache.

Deal has angered some in the Hispanic community for his anti-illegal immigration policy views.

Google's autocomplete search function is not helping potential Republican presidential nominee Haley Barbour shed the tag of racism.

Barbour made controversial comments in late 2010 about his childhood recollections of the segregationist Citizens' Council of America, stating "I just don't remember it as being that bad."

As a result of this gaffe, "racism" is currently the first autocomplete suggestion after typing in Haley Barbour's name.

Of course, Google autocomplete and search results are fluid and subject to change as real world events and new controversies spark interest on the Internet.

Top Google Autocomplete Results for the Nation's 50 Governors

State
Governor
Party
Suggestion
Alabama
Robert Bentley
GOP
Wiki
Alaska
Sean Parnell
GOP
Bio
Arizona
Jan Brewer
GOP
Death Panel
Arkansas
Mike Beebe
Dem
Inauguration
California
Jerry Brown
Dem
Budget
Colorado
John Hickenlooper
Dem
Inauguration
Connecticut
Dan Malloy
Dem
Transition
Delaware
Jack Markell
Dem
State of the State
Florida
Rick Scott
GOP
Budget
Georgia
Nathan Deal
GOP
Nazi
Hawaii
Neil Abercrombie
Dem
Birth certificate
Idaho
Butch Otter
GOP
State of the State
Illinois
Pat Quinn
Dem
Governor
Indiana
Mitch Daniels
GOP
PAC
Iowa
Terry Branstad
GOP
Inauguration
Kansas
Sam Brownback
GOP
Transition
Kentucky
Steve Beshear
Dem
For governor
Louisiana
Bobby Jindal
GOP
Book
Maine
Paul LePage
GOP
NAACP
Maryland
Martin O'Malley
Dem
Wiki
Massachusetts
Deval Patrick
Dem
Inauguration
Michigan
Rick Snyder
GOP
State of the State
Minnesota
Mark Dayton
DFL
Transition
Mississippi
Haley Barbour
GOP
Racist
Missouri
Jay Nixon
Dem
Assassination
Montana
Brian Schweitzer
Dem
2016
Nebraska
Dave Heineman
GOP
Bio
Nevada
Brian Sandoval
GOP
State of the State
New Hampshire
John Lynch
Dem
Wiki
New Jersey
Chris Christie
GOP
State of the State
New Mexico
Susana Martinez
GOP
Transition
New York
Andrew Cuomo
Dem
State of the State
North Carolina
Beverly Perdue
Dem
Budget
North Dakota
Jack Dalrymple
GOP
North Dakota
Ohio
John Kasich
GOP
Bio
Oklahoma
Mary Fallin
GOP
Inaugural
Oregon
John Kitzhaber
Dem
Girlfriend
Pennsylvania
Tom Corbett
GOP
Transition team
Rhode Island
Lincoln Chafee
Ind.
Inauguration
South Carolina
Nikki Haley
GOP
State of the State
South Dakota
Dennis Daugaard
GOP
Budget
Tennessee
Bill Haslam
GOP
Inauguration
Texas
Rick Perry
GOP
Wiki
Utah
Gary Herbert
GOP
Utah
Vermont
Peter Shumlin
Dem
Inauguration
Virginia
Bob McDonnell
GOP
Transportation
Washington
Christine Gregoire
Dem
Budget
West Virginia
Earl Ray Tomblin
Dem
Governor
Wisconsin
Scott Walker
GOP
Prank call
Wyoming
Matt Mead
GOP
Inauguration
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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