Oct 292011


One of the most sought after secrets of the 21st century is the inner-workings of Google’s search algorithm. The company keeps it incredibly private so that no one can discover how to game it and online searching will remain fair for all. However, sometimes the algorithms mysterious process leads to some interesting quirks, especially when it helpfully tries to fix what it views as users’ typos. This has led Google to appear sexist in the past and, now, it looks like the search engine hates Mitt Romney for some reason.

Currently, when users attempt to search for the phrase “Mitt Romney can win,” Google asks them if they meant to write “Mitt Romney can’t win.” Ouch.

Here’s a screen grab from Slate:

We’ve tested it out and that is the response we got as well. What’s even more interesting is that Romney is the only candidate that that happens for. We’ve tried everyone (even the debaters from Wednesday’s Great American Debate!) and Google has no problem with any of their chances.

Unlike the WNBA thing though, this might actually be a bad sign for Romney. Not that Google hates him, of course. But that enough people are clearly searching for that phrase that Google’s algorithm thinks it’s important. Interesting stuff.

Really though, I’m sure there are other candidates in the GOP race that would kill for something this small to be their only “Google problem”…

UPDATE: An earlier version of this post credited a Tumblr user with finding the glitch. It appears it was first reported on Slate.

Follow us on Twitter.

Sign up for Mediaite’s daily newsletter.

  • lmao………can’t wait for Michelle, Sara and Pablo and all the other righties to start calling google “socialist” or “obama gargler”

  • Tell’s me more about what the majority of Americans opinion of Romney is then it does about google

  • The Google program simply recommends the most common spellings and phrases.  The phrase “Mitt Romney can win” appears in the index 47,200 times.  The phrase “Mitt Romney can’t win” appears in the index 205,000 times.  That’s why it recommends the latter.  This has nothing to do with the inner-workings of Google’s search algorithm.

  • It’s going to be a long wait for such a Romney based complaint. I’m with George Will.


  • Well I just tried it and by the time I typed “romney” it has finished with the “can;t win” which says to me that people are doing it on purpose now which has skewed the results.

    This is ultimately dumb.It’s a computer ok…I bet if the number of “can” over “can’t” was even one it would go for the higher useage.

    By the way,if you type in “obama can win” and then “obama can’t win” there are 200 million more result for “can’t”.

  • Lol, I hate “Google correct”.  That’s funny!  

    Korean Trevor has it right; the algorithm indexes input and then posits assumptions based on input.  

    It’s an “aggregation” bot search.  And yet it still is funny.

    I have searched for multiple “technical” IT phrases and have come up with search results from Google trying to help me that are just stupid.  I mis-phrased a “UDP transfer” query and got all sorts of wrong results.

    However, if you know how to search Google, isolate your key words and add various parameters you can find almost anything.

    If you just plug in a variety of words in a string…who knows what you will find. Not very scientific.

  • Duh! whats news about this. 

  • Hilarious. I love how the GOP right is now imploding at the thought of Romney winning the nomination-which he will-and then sulking conservatives like pablo will sit at home and Obama will win.

    Yeah thanks George WIll for telling us what we knew all along-conservatives hate romney!!

    Sorry Michelle in Utah. You don’t have a nominee worth a hill of beans.


  • KoreanTrevor beat me to it…  I’ll just add that you really shouldn’t write about things you don’t understand…

  • So when you type “Romney can win” (with quotes) in Google, it doesn’t respond with actual links?  Try again, people.  Another non-story.

    (It also has plenty of links without the quotes.)

  • I think the algorithms are on to something. Romney will be nominated and will lose to Obama in an election year that will see both domestic  and international strength. 

  • Ha, Ha, Ha!  Google is a known lapdog of the Obama administration.  Nothing new here.  Wonder why they came up with their conclusion?  What a joke.

  • He does seem like he is the least common denominator of the bunch.  I’m such a geek; I love combining math and politics.

  • It tells me a lot more about the person that posted this.

  • Other Google phrases that pop up…


    Ron Paul can’t work a tv remote and you’re considering giving him
    launch codes?

    Michelle who?
    Newt? Search Slimey?

    Cain can’t figure out why he’s polling so well

    Romney can’t figure out why Cain is polling so well


    Rick Santorum has his own google issues

  • Are you saying that an algorithm is a person; a sentient being?  They knew what you would type and “fixed it” to return another phrase 180 degrees diametrically opposed to an initial query?

  • That result probably happened because there is no site labeled Romney can win, but there …
    Oops: from Google “Results 1 to 10 of 14,100,000 for romney can win”

  • Mitt 2012!

    Sounds like the White House has been madly typing Mitt Can’t Win for the last 3 years into Google instead of creating jobs! 🙂

  • Let’s slip outta our underwear and take a look!

  •  Mitt-Flop Romney in 2012??…Please no.  men Mitt-Flop Romney in 2012??…Please no

  • No one can win because the Pentagon can’t give up on their spokesperson for their agenda.

  • Pres. Romney.  We all might want to get used to it now.  I’m on the ‘Cain train’, but Romney just seems like a hard-to-beat candidate….

  • If anyone votes for Obama in the General election, he or she would have to be so ignorant of the facts.
    It is terrible how many people have no clue what has been going on the past three years. We need to
    get him out of office, another 4 year term with him at the helm would be the death of America as we
    have known it. I for one do not care for Socialism. That is what he is forcing on us.

  • “Google’s Search Engine Has Apparently Decided Mitt Romney Can’t Win”

    So soon will the American voters. 

  • I know this is hard for you to admit but here’s the reality: Google recommends you the most common phrases. The phrase “Mitt Romney can’t win” is a LOT more common than “Mitt Romney can win”.

    It means people who use google believe Romney can’t win.

  • It sounds like someone working with or behind goole is AFRAID he will win. What a bunch of bias cowards.

  • wow

  • Then how come when I type in “Michele Obama”, it doesn’t say “Fat-@ssed:disqus , Dis-barred lawyer who is obsessed with hypocritical food directorials and going on $10 million vacations with taxpayer money”?

    I don’t get it, should I try lower case?

  • I don’t think they are ‘afraid’ he can’t win. The guy has been running for President for 6 years, and can’t break 25% support.  You tell me.

  • Romney will be the GOP candidate,
    And he will lose to Obama.
    Big news! 

  • Get off your meds, did you?  BO is going to announce he will not run for re-election just prior to the New Hampshire primary.  Hilary will resign as SOS and get ion the race.  She will have as much better chance against Herman Cain.




    2012 Presidential Election Odds



  • BTW: All of the Republican candidate are a joke. Obama will beat Romney the way Reagan beat Dukakis!

  • Personally, I like Intrade.

  • google is a lefty organization ,  remember they had the rigged bush search cant remember what you searched i think failure and the number one thing that came up was GWB……

  • Yes, phred.

    The sht flinging Baboon Beck warned us about it during one of his inspired revelations in February.

    The Giggles IS eveeeel. Don’t use it. Always rely on the credible and fair and balanced reporting from the Fux gNOpig Propaganda channel.

  • One ought to forget differences and focus on the issues facing us today or myself for that matter.  I have found mormons to be very freindly culturally , non offensive persons unlike other so called christians have shown me.  So one ought to behave as the hicks narrowminded persons that we get fixed on what is no longer true about them.  The ones that have paid the penalties due not to folowing what they practice today and not the original sect.  The History of the Roman Catholic Church with three Popes at one time in history and priests were allowed to get married then, speacks about how changes in Religion can occur.  The persons are letting the media control them and probably not the real issues facing us today.

    I am concerned with social security and affordable housing, and jobs in the healthcare field that are given to younger persons, so age discrimination and program being paid to persons who are more of a danger to certain persons that they hate or elderly abuse and child abuse and the rewardubg of scholld that condone violent bullying behavior.  There are many issues at hand and religion ought to be nopt the issue, but the disease of the respecting one thers differences seems to be the most dangerous illness of all.  Especailly beging called by ignorant persons names and not respecting women is a very important issues that this country faces.  Respecting women of other countries especially having been raised and gone only to American Schools.  This I find to be an atrocity and a darn shame. 

    The issues please.  Enought is Enought.

  • I’m not sure that is a fair assessment of what’s happening.  If people think Mittens can win and did a search on him, they’d more likely type in Mittens will  win .. eh?

  • Can’t say that this “glitch” makes me give a damn either way. But I do find it funny that the GOP’s lie machine is eating its own front runner.

  • Love the plays on words. hahaha. you are funny! Tool.

  • Oh what a painfully revealing manufactured avatar you’ve got there, grandma.

    Look, Mediaite is trying to have this both ways, just to get people talking up the idea of a conspiracy to somehow ‘get’ Romney, when it’s clear that less than a quarter of even just R voters want him; which translates into a crushing loss in the general, but because of the peculiarities of Spy versus Spy, uh, D versus R in the general, will actually only result in the narrower loss that Rs so fervently want to keep the meme going that Obama is not president of “all of us”.

    The Google algorithm is only a secret in its detailed mechanics. For the most part, all search engines work off some weighted computation of past searches, and most the better ones, Google included, weight it a second time towards past searches OFF THE SPECIFIC COMPUTER (Hello, Big Bro; well, Google says it doesn’t actually hoover that up, but who cares really: the NSA hoovers up Google, so Big Bro gets to know what Google politely declines to look at.).

    Obviously Mediaite has run into a self-biasing problem here, because the computer it’s using reflects that triple bias against Romney: the general one by Dems, the general but slightly more specific one by opponents of Romney within the R party (The religious right is a huge one; forget your personal projections and go review the distinctions between what evangelist Lutheran-derived Calvinist-tinged fundamentalist Christians believe and what Mormons believe – there is simply no way to reconcile those two views, and fervent members of both sets know that, but there are a lot, a WHOLE lot more of the former than the latter.) and the very specific one on the computer(s) Mediaite used, presumably to figure out the basis for that huge chasm of a divide between fundies and Mormons. This isn’t a CONSCIOUS bias on the part of Mediaite, it’s an unintended consequence of curiosity.

    So what we should expect here, and elsewhere, is some degree of avatar-based Mormon pushback, to wit: no no no, we are CHRISTIANS, just like you, when that’s complete bullshit.

    To be clear, I think BOTH sides are bullshit here, and all you need to do is go to Wikipedia and search trough all the conniption fits that US presidents have gone to to avoid stepping in the manure on this subject to realize the entire notion of religious doctrine is bullshit. It wasn’t ALWAYS bullshit; it was at various times the best humans could come up with to explain their lives and their places in the universe. And it’s actually kind of cool to go through all the religions and see the directions some of them went to, to adust to be conquered, to adjust to emerging scientific ideas, to adjust to local realities. There never was a time before in our history when so many Americans were so open as they are now to admit they are atheists, and that’s no accident: that’s due to how science works. There also was never before such a time as this when so many Americans called themselves ‘Christians’ and considered themselves thus bonded to the rest who call themselves that. Christians at one time in OUR OWN past was a sect that adopted the Jewish accommodationist view  of Jesus of Nazareth, that sure, we’ll call him Christ, because that’s now entered the public consciousness, but he’s not Christ in the Messiah sense of the Old Testament, not how the HM Catholic church paints him and not how the Lutheran church paints him, or the Calvinists etc etc etc (Frenchies all by the way: there never was a John Calvin, his name was Jean Chauvin and he was FRENCH.), but as a prophet – not quite as ordinary a prophet as Islam paints him, more like a prophet with special super powers … maybe, if you’re into that sort of thing, comic books and such. 

    This is what we do know: there are enough fundy Rs to cause Romney real problems getting the nomination, but those same folks will not have anything like the same problem voting FOR Romney AGAINST Obama – and not all of that has to do with Obama’s skin color. Obama, to the extent he calls himself religious, and he does, calls himself a ‘Christian’. The suspicion is – and it’s well-founded – that that means in the United church, Unitarianism, close to Deism, not too far from Atheism sense that the term Christian at one time meant in this country. That’s the kind of Christian that can trace his beliefs back to the Jefferson Bible, where Jefferson boiled out all the Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Presbyterian claptrap added in the two millenia since the two books of the Bible were written (in ancient Armaic for the first, in Greek for the second) and found, lo and beyond, Unitarianism. That’s the kind of belief that founded the Democratic Republican party Jefferson co-invented, the one that splintered into Whigs and northern Republicans versus southern Dixiecrats. That’s the splintering process that resulted in the No Nothings, just like we have now with the Tea Party types, forcing the Rs into anti-science, anti-AGW, anti-Keynes anti any accumulated knowledge from past experience. That’s the Unitarian sect that supported the underground railway for slaves to escape the south into the north, even into Canada. THAT sect morphed with the Unitarian church in Canada to become the United church there, and SOME of that stuck in the black communities, including Chicago, where Jeremiah Wright, who understands all that history like the true religious scholar he is, took a tiny little nothing congregation of 85 and built it up into a powerhouse of black post-slave theology, which then became part of the Chicago establishment – which is why Obama joined it, BECAUSE it was black establishment, because he lacked religious cred in the Chicago community (which is part of why he lost a run for the House against Bobby Seale of all people).

    So, part of the reason the religious right base of the R party will rally around Romney in the general is that he, even as Mormon, belongs to a church that, while it too downgrades Jesus to a prophet, believes in magical religious dogma, whereas Unitarian derivatives do not. That, plus most of them are R party supporters anyway, plus of course that skin color thing. That is, while it HURTS Romney to be a Mormon NOW, it actually helps him, against Obama, incidentally also black, in the general.

    But by that time the Google response to “Romney can win” will NOT get a response like “Romney can’t win”, but instead something like “Romney can win because Obama is the AntiChrist” or some similar such bullshit.

  • No – it means people who use Google are looking for reason to support their hope that he doesn’t win. There’s a difference between what you’re saying and what I am. People don’t use search engines to find what they believe, they KNOW what they believe; they use if for comfort and confirmation.

  • Well, he DOES have his own Google issues – or issue. Dan Savage performed a public service there and the people have spoken, thru Google. That, for the rest of human history, will be what is meant by santorum. He fully deserves it, too.

  • Yeah, funny; except go back to 2007-8 and see how much it came up then, in the context of the 2008 R nomination process. You’ll find much the same thing. It’s mostly the religious right doing it, both times.

  • It remains possible that Hillary will be on the Dem ticket, but as VP. I continue to think like Woodward does that such would be an obvious move DEPENDING on how the R nomination process goes and who the winner picks to run with. I thought, and I think Woodward must have too, that such could arise if say someone like Perry won and then picked someone like Rubio to run with, but Rubio’s damaged goods now (In fairness, he took himself off that role before the WaPo story came out on his parents.), and if it’s to be Romney, he may well be forced to pick a fundy to run with, like Huckabee, which might allow Obama to duck going with Hillary on his ticket. 

    And keep in mind how self-destructive this is going to be for Romney. He may be forced to pick a fundy like Huckabee just to keep the fundies happy, when they were all inclined to vote for him anyway. It’s incredibly dumb in a totally Russian roulette circle sort of way, but that’s your modern GOP for you. Perry of course does not have that problem. Cain also not, but that’s just the Rs not wanting to give up a wetdream before they climax.

  • In 2010, if you searched “Donate to RNC”, Google would ask if you meant “Donate to DNC”. I have a screenshot of it on my laptop, I think.


  • ^ More Conservative Victimization Syndrome at work. 

  • Except that Bush beat Dukakis. 

  • Probably because none of that is true, whereas it is true that Mitt can’t win. 

  • Anybody remember the very “scientific algorithm” that couldn’t “find Chuck Norris”? Totally unbiased, scientific stuff.  I’m wondering if the same algorithm is in operation on the Romney issue?  Just saying.

  • It is ALL TRUE.

    Mitt can win-but 80% of the GOP doesn’t want him

  • Won’t ever happen.  Romney will run on his record as topsy turvy as it is and George W Bush’s debt.

  • The reason could have been because it was Bush debating Dukakis.

  • The reason could have been because it was Bush debating Dukakis.

  • What isn’t true is that Michelle Obama does NOT use taxpayer money to take any vacations and certainly not any for $10 million.  And, she has NEVER been disbarred.

    This is just like the fricking lies of the republicans regarding the president’s birth records.  You are obsessed with lies.  And you probably think you are a Christian, but you aren’t a Christian and you aren’t a patriot American.

  • Maybe his record at Bain will help him in his flip flop.  But then, wasn’t that the company where he posed with all that money flying out his pockets when he fired all the employees and sent their jobs overseas?

  • Sorry to hear about the train.  It will never leave the station.

  • I know.  I bet if you put in “Mitt flip flop” it will come up Mitt Romney.  Holly smollie.  It does!!

  • Poor Santorum.  His kids can’t even google his name.  Well, all I can say is that you reap what you sow.

  •  You’re a dumb liberal drone that will believe whatever obama and his goons tell you.  I lived in Chicago, stupid, she was dis-barred and those records are sealed.

    I’m a vet and Catholic I don’t know how much more religious or patriotic one can be.

    You are obsessed with stupidity, liberal tart.  Make sure you load up on the obama memorabilia, because his ignorant rear end is TOAST in 2012.  See you then!

  • Just sharing:

  • They do actually have a nominee worth a a hill of beans. It’s Jon Huntsman. However, they are not interested in him because he doesn’t pay lip service to the extreme right.  

  • Oh for God’s sake keep it pithy.  Flagged for boring people.

  • There are 95,000 results for Romney can Win.  The big number is the results for Romney can’t win.

  • Her status is ‘voluntarily inactive and not authorized to practice law’ which is far from disbarred.  Being a vet doesn’t give you a licence to be conveniently ignorant.

  • obama will loose to whomever the nominee is

  • @fyonalon:  who’s ignorant you liberal drone?  Keep drinking the koolaid all the way to defeat in 2012.  

  • http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2308476/posts

    WRONG, she was ordered by a court to stop practicing law leading to that status. That doesn’t happen to lawyers who are ethical, especially in Chicago.

  • Disbarred records are never sealed.  Her license to practice law is “voluntarily inactive” which means she doesn’t want to spend the money to renew her license each year.

  • Who is ignorant?  The website you directed me to says only this:
    The statement has many bloggers wondering why a court would issue an order to stop Michelle Obama from practicing law.Here is the answer, Mr I know coz Im from Chicago and Im a war vet:before 2000, any lawyer who wanted to go on VOLUNTARY inactive status had to get a court order to do so. Therefore, ALL lawyers who voluntarily became inactive – did so via COURT ORDER. There were NO disciplinary actions against Mrs. Obama. She is eligible to return to active status at any time by paying her fees and completing the continuing education required of all lawyers. 

    So, the ARDC’s site indicates that her VOLUNTARILY inactive status came at HER request and was granted by a court order, as was ROUTINE before 2000. 

    NOTHING on their site says or implies that there was a disciplinary aspect to it.Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_was_Michelle_Obama_disbarred#ixzz1cAd8rhbqSo, don’t tell me to stop drinking koolaid when you can’t look beyond your own prejudiced nose.  As for being a liberal “drone”, sure it’s more fun to make stuff up.

  • Gird yourself for a nice fat loss. None of these assclowns is fit to shine Obama’s shoes. If you had even half a brain that would be apparent to you. 

  • Sorry to hear about your brain injuries. I hope you recover and the delusions stop. 

  • Truth is absolutely dispensable to these folks. They just make up whatever suits their narrative. It’s impossible to have any respect for this willingly-ignorant mindset. 

  • This M_J_S is Exhibit A of what is wrong today with the modern conservative movement. 

    This commenter, like so many of his/her peers, clearly lives in a fact-free bubble around which swirl nonsensical conspiracies and absurd theories that are so easily dismantled (just go to snopes.com and you can destroy this in under 60 seconds) that it defies logic how someone this gullible manages to get through their day. 

    I really worry for the future of our republic if people like this ever get control of the White House. It’s just sad to even contemplate. 

  • Take Amtrak. It’ll get you where you want to go.

  • Paranoid much? 

  • Seems to me that there is nothing altogether mysterious about this considering there are so many out there in there ether typing “Mitt Romney can’t win” I haven’t heard much reporting on the fact that he can so it would make sense that google’s bots would find more “can’ts” than “cans” Once again, Mediaite, a non-issue. This is thin. You can do better.  

  • No, you pathetic drone, you believe in big government, Conservatives believe in the Constitution.  Very simple, and no matter what anyone shows you, you’ll never get it. 

    Go back outside and join the Occupy protests.  Crap on some cop cars, get tear gassed.

    This is the year that your phony liberal distortions are over.  Michelle Obama was forced by a court to stop practicing law.  I lived in Chicago, you didn’t.  But you have the liberal “magic” that will produce the outcome no matter what the “evidence” is.

  • that’s because it depends on what day of the week it is.

  • Well, let’s see, Romney has flip flopped on every issue from gay rights to gun rights, was the broiler plate for Obama’s Health care legislation, can’t garner more than 23% of republicans in any poll, and is a Mormon.  Now, there is nothing wrong with being a Mormon, but John Kennedy, the only Catholic President, barely won his election and Catholics outnumber Mormons 12.5 to 1.  He has no chance with all the Protestants on the GOP side who just don’t see any other way to heaven than electing one of their own.

  • It’s not the 23% that are for Romney, it’s the 77% who isn’t. He has not broken the 25% barrier. That’s because we already have a progressive in the White House. Don’t need another. The candidate that is surprising everyone is Cain. And those who sit there and whine about Cain won’t make it, will be in for a surprise. The Democrats can’t stand Cain because he is a Black Conservative. The only thing Democrats hate more is a Black Conservative woman. Democrats are a hateful group. And outside of Obama, Pelosi and Reid, supporting the OWS crowd they have a couple other supports who agree with them. The Nazi’s and KKK.

  • Because of the tracking & censorship I have not used google in several years.
    http://www.ixquick.com  dsnt track or collect info on you.

Free Backlinks.com | Full Text RSS Feed | Amazon Plugin | Settlement Statement

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>