The Numbers Crunch: One year since Tahrir

This week in online news: Americans bored by US republicans; JPost readers unhappy with Obama’s Iran policy.

January 21, 2012 21:22
3 minute read.
The Numbers Crunch

Numbers Crunch 311. (photo credit: Mrkay Design)


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Despite dominating US news coverage for over a month, the Pew Research Center found this week that the 2012 presidential race is boring most Americans. The PRC data showed that 55 percent of Americans described the campaign so far as dull, whereas only 36% found it interesting. The main complaints cited were that the race was not informative, and was too negative, too long and not important.

The PRC also looked at the campaign on social media, and found that the number of statements about US presidential candidates on Twitter vastly outnumbered those on blog posts, “by a factor of more than 9 to 1.”

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Also on social media, Egyptians were gearing up to mark January 25, a year since the uprising began last year. This screenshot from Trendsmap shows #jan25 as the third most-used hashtag in the region, after #Egypt and #Tahrir, for the Cairo square which was the center of the unprecedented protests.

However, neither the ongoing US presidential campaign nor the one-year anniversary made it to the list of top stories on in the past week. Instead, reader trends reflected a spike in rhetoric over Iran’s developing nuclear program and related international discourse on sanctions and embargoes. All of the five most-read stories on the site this week related to the issue.

Jpost Top Five most-read stories:
1. Report: 'CIA, MI6 behind Iranian nuclear scientist's death'
2. IDF officer: 'Nuclear Iran could deter wars in Gaza, Lebanon'
3. Report: 'US prepping facilities for Israel attack on Iran'
4. Iran vows retaliation against Israel for scientist
5. Report: 'Western intelligence says Israel behind Iran bombs'

For the first time in several weeks, there were clear correlations between the most-read stories on the site and the most-active threads on the JPost talkback forums. Four of the stories appeared on both lists, and the odd story out – not being directly related to Iran – was the Israeli reaction to British Deputy Prime Minister Nicholas Clegg’s comments on Israeli settlements.

Jpost Top Five most-active threads:
1. Report: ‘Mossad agents have been posing as CIA'  
2. Report: 'Western intelligence says Israel behind Iran bombs'
3. IDF officer: 'Nuclear Iran could deter wars in Gaza, Lebanon'
4. Report: 'CIA, MI6 behind Iranian nuclear scientist's death'
5. Israel blasts UK's Clegg over settlement comment

It was not surprising, then, that over 3,000 readers responded to a recent poll asking them to rate the Obama administration’s treatment of the Iranian nuclear threat. Over 70% of readers said that Israel is worse off because of US President Barack Obama, while 12% had a more positive view of the American leader, opining that there is still work to be done.

And following on from last week, when The Numbers Crunch tapped into an apparent Israeli obsession with the weather via Google search data, a look at the top search terms worldwide in the past week:

1. Weather
2. News
3. BBC
4. Meteo
5. Sport
6. Tiempo
7. BBC News
8. CNN
9. Noticias
10. Programme TV

So, as much as we like to think of Israelis as unique, when it comes down to the World Wide Web, it looks like we’re really all pretty similar.

From news sites to blogs, tweets to videos, The Numbers Crunch is a weekly column which zooms out and brings you the big picture online, from Israel, the Middle East and around the world, and poll results from

The writer is the Internet desk manager at The Jerusalem Post.

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