ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
South Carolina Governor-elect Nikki Haley won more than the top political job in her state this year, she ascended to the heights of search engine stardom.
Haley was the fastest rising political figure in Google’s search results, according to year-end statistics compiled by the company. That means that Haley, who will be the first woman governor of the Palmetto State, was among the politicians whose names spiked the most on the site from last year to this year.
Rounding out the top 5 fastest-rising politicians on Google were failed GOP California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., Senator-elect Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Senator-elect Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
The data come from Google’s “Zeitgeist 2010” report, which includes information on what terms Internet users in the United States and around the world were searching for the most over the last year.
Haley’s search traffic shot up during the spring and early summer — around the same time that a conservative blogger accused her of having an extramarital affair. Haley denied the allegations and went on to win the GOP primary in June and this November's general election. It was a feat that earned Haley a place among the rising start of the Republican Party.
Another emerging Republican mover and shaker, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, was the sixth fastest-rising political figure on Google, followed by motley crew who rounded out the top 10. They include Nelson Mandela, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., former presidential candidate John Edwards, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.