Top Searches: #8 Political Polls

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Political polls became not only a Web habit, but also the story themselves, as established pollsters' methodologies were questioned and algo-geek Nate Silver performed a statistical sweep. (Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo)

"Political polls" didn't just make the Top 10 Searches on Yahoo!, which is calculated by the search volume of related keywords. The term also made the Obsessions list, thanks to a combination of search volume and a significant percentage spike in searches for "polls" from 2011. Although the election campaign had been going on for two years, the focus on polls became more intense once Mitt Romney had won enough primaries to secure the Republican candidacy for president.

America has developed a hyperfocus on numbers, including those in government budgets, Wall Street finances, deficits and campaign spending. In a time of sabermetrics and Freakonomics, voters closely monitored ever-shifting, often contradictory political polls. Pollsters themselves even became the story, from Gallup being criticized for declaring a 7-point Mitt Romney lead 16 days before Election Day to Nate Silver's statistical sweep. The Signal on Yahoo! also played the predictions game, projecting that President Obama would win 303 electoral votes to the Republican nominee's 235. Final tally: 332 for Obama and 206 for Romney.

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