Who’s "It" on Wikipedia

Let’s try an experiment.  

You have been watching the most recent CNN presidential debate. During the debate, Newt Gingrich made a reference to an action he did as former Speaker of the House. You want to learn more about his time in this position. What do you do? You Google it, and here’s what you get:

For this particular search, Google’s top search results are as follows: 
  1. News which includes three recent articles on Newt Gingrich  
  2. Newt Gingrich’s official campaign website 
  3. Newt Gingrich’s Wikipedia article

It’s not likely you’ll find much about Newt’s time as Speaker of the House via news articles. You may find a section about his time in said position on his campaign website, but you know that candidates typically only share information that holds them in a positive light. With Wikipedia — especially with high-profile articles such as those on presidential candidates — writing must be written in encyclopedic style, and contributors come from all political persuasions. The result is relatively thorough, high-quality, and frequently referenced writing. (It’s no wonder this often used website shows up so high in Google search engine results for each candidate.) You click on the link that takes you to Newt Gingrich’s Wikipedia article and quickly identify the lengthy section on his term as Speaker of the House.  

We’ve seen correlation between the performance of each candidate and the number of Wikipedia article views she or he receives as a result. As a campaign is generating more national attention, more individuals will likely perform searches on the candidate and visit the top search engine results including her or his Wikipedia article to learn more about the candidate. 
   
Now that you have the background information on this metric, let’s take a look at how each presidential candidate has performed thus far during 2011 according to Wikipedia. You’ll notice that many candidates have experienced at least one prominent peak during the 2011 year. 


Let’s now break down the data we’ve seen thus far in November for each candidate. We will list candidates from first to ninth according to total article views their Wikipedia articles have seen. Keep in mind that some of the interest these candidates have attracted to themselves isn’t always considered positive for their campaigns. 



#1: Herman Cain | 635,478 Views
  • Herman Cain has seen 635,478 Wikipedia article views in November
  • Herman Cain’s biggest day according to Wikipedia occurred on November 8 when he saw 67,500 article views. The following events occurred on this day:
    • Sexual harassment accusations were at a peak on this day. Articles on the subject appeared on  ABC News, CNN, The Washington Post, Forbes, along with many other national news outlets.


    #2: Barack Obama | 534,329 Views
    • Barack Obama has seen 534,329 Wikipedia article views in November. That’s 84% of the amount #1 Herman Cain saw so far this month. 
    • Barack Obama’s biggest day according to Wikipedia occurred on November 17 when he saw 29,500 article views. The following events occurred on this day:

     #3: Newt Gingrich | 448,384 Views

    • Newt Gingrich has seen 448,384 Wikipedia article views in November. That’s 70.5% of the amount #1 Herman Cain saw so far this month. 
    • Newt Gingrich’s biggest day according to Wikipedia occurred on November 15 when he saw 42,800 article views. The following events occurred on this day:
      • Newt Gingrich’s national poll results start to place him above Herman Cain. 
      • News on Gingrich receiving $300,000 as advising fee from Freddie Mac nationalized through the outlets including The Washington Post, NPR, and CNN.
      
    #4: Mitt Romney | 283,322 Views
    • Mitt Romney has seen 283,322 Wikipedia article views in November. That’s 63.1% of the amount #1 Herman Cain saw so far this month. 
    • Mitt Romney’s biggest day according to Wikipedia occurred on November 10 when he saw 26,200 article views. The following events occurred on this day:
      • This was the day following the CNBC debate after which many political analysts evaluated each candidate’s performance. 
      • The Washington Times wrote an article on Romney entitled: “A nice guy in a season of nastiness.”
      • Mitt Romney took second place in the CNBC debate according to Intrade and Twitter and declared by PoliticIt


      #5: Ron Paul | 257,367 Views
      • Ron Paul has seen 257,367 Wikipedia article views in November. That’s 57.3% of the amount #1 Herman Cain saw so far this month. 
      • Ron Paul’s biggest day according to Wikipedia occurred on November 23 when he saw 24,700 article views. The following events occurred on this day:


        #6: Rick Perry | 203,503 Views
        • Rick Perry has seen 203,403 Wikipedia article views in November. That’s 45.3% of the amount #1 Herman Cain saw so far this month. 
        • Rick Perry’s biggest day according to Wikipedia occurred on November 10 when he saw 32,500 article views. The following events occurred on this day:
          • This was the day following the CNBC debate after which many political analysts evaluated each candidate’s performance. 
          • This is the day following Rick Perry’s “Oops” moment. Take a look:


          #7: Michele Bachmann | 151,794 Views
          • Michele Bachmann has seen 151,794 Wikipedia article views in November. That’s 33.8% of the amount #1 Herman Cain saw so far this month. 
          • Michele Bachmann’s biggest day according to Wikipedia occurred on November 10 when she saw 32,500 article views. The following events occurred on this day:
            • This was the day following the CNBC debate after which many political analysts evaluated each candidate’s performance.
            • Bachmann delivered a speech in which she was interrupted by coordinated protesters. The event made national news.  Here’s a look at what happened: 


          #8: Jon Huntsman | 131,387 Views
          • Jon Huntsman has seen 131,387 Wikipedia article views in November. That’s 29.3% of the amount #1 Herman Cain saw so far this month. 
          • Jon Huntsman’s biggest day according to Wikipedia occurred on November 23 when he saw 14,800 article views. The following events occurred on this day:


          #9: Rick Santorum | 93,438 Views
          • Rick Santorum has seen 93,438 Wikipedia article views in November. That’s 20.8% of the amount #1 Herman Cain saw so far this month. 
          • Rick Santorum’s biggest day according to Wikipedia occurred on November 23 when he saw 12,300 article views. The following events occurred on this day:
            • It was the day following the big CNN foreign policy debate when political analysts were evaluating each candidate’s performance. 
            • Many articles appeared on this date discussing Santorum’s support of racial profiling of Muslims in an effort to prevent terrorism. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-nice-guy-in-a-season-of-nastiness/2011/11/10/gIQAYtgA9M_story.html

          So how did your candidate do? Do you see any interesting patterns we missed? Can you think of other monumental days for a candidate in November that correlate with a peak in the candidate’s Wikipedia article traffic. Let us know in the comment section below. 

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