Google is an imperfect oracle of popular will, but here’s one trend that seems pretty clear: Searches for the phrase “registrarse para votar” — “register to vote,” in Spanish — hit an all-time high during Monday’s presidential debate, spiking to more than 100,000 searches.
The term was Google’s third trending search in the United States at 10:30 p.m. Monday, preceded only by two phrases related to the Houston shooting. According to Google, search volume was highest in the ever-important swing state of Florida, followed by New Jersey, New York, Texas and California.
A quick note on this data, and what Google means by “trending”: The designation doesn’t refer to the most popular searches, but the ones that — relative to all other searches — are spiking. In other words, the blue trend line above doesn’t show you how many Spanish-speaking people are Googling how to vote. It shows you what normalized share they represent, in the grand scheme of all U.S. Google searches.
Spanish-language searches for voting information have only neared this interest share on one prior occasion: That was after the first presidential debate in 2012. In the current election cycle, the last comparable spike occurred on Aug. 31, the day Donald Trump made his much-anticipated Phoenix immigration speech, though search volume also increased after both parties’ conventions.