Google Data: Interest in Mitt Romney's Mormon Faith Higher Than Ever Before

Google shows that Americans are more interested in Romney's Mormon faith than ever before.

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According to Google, interest in Mitt Romney's Mormon faith is higher now than it has ever been before.

Searches for the GOP presidential candidate's religion have ebbed and flowed in the months leading up to the presidential election, with a single uptick during the Iowa Caucus. But in August, searches for the term "Romney Mormon" saw a significant spike, Google Insights for Search shows.

That spike came on the heels of a controversial Bloomberg BusinessWeek cover about Mormonism, and as prominent Mormons called for Romney to open up about his faith. The increase also came in the weeks before the Republican National Convention, when Romney opened up about his religion to Parade Magazine and allowed a reporter to accompany him to church. (In his convention speech, Romney briefly mentioned his faith by name.)

Searches for "Romney Mormon" have decreased somewhat in September, but interest in the topic remains at its highest level yet. And it surpasses current interest in any other topic Democrats have used to attack Romney in 2012.

Interest in the term "Bain," for example, currently trails behind "Mormon," followed by "tax returns" "dog on roof" and "etch a sketch."

Searches for these topics have tracked pretty closely with significant news around them. The topic "Mormon," however, has simply gained interest as election day approaches.

President Barack Obama's chief strategist David Axelrod seems keenly aware of where the nation's interest lies. Last month, Fox reported that Axelrod and others on Team Obama discussed "what might be called the nuclear option: unleashing an attack on Romney's Mormon faith via the mainstream media."

There has been no indication of that kind of attack yet.

*Note: Whispers will share the comparable search data for voter interest in Obama on Monday. Google Insights lags by a day or two, but by Monday the tool should be able to reflect the impact of Obama's convention speech Thursday and Friday's negative jobs report.

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at eflock@usnews.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.