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Clegg sees surge in search popularity

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg saw a big boost in popularity as a web search term following his performance at the first-ever leaders' debate last week.

According to HitWise, Clegg-related queries spiked at 0.012 per cent of all UK searches on Saturday, more than double the volume of both David Cameron and Gordon Brown, who won 0.0049 per cent and 0.0029 per cent respectively.

Clegg is widely agreed to have 'won' last Thursday's inaugural election debate, after successfully marketing the Lib Dems as a viable alternative to the two main parties.

Many voters will not have been exposed to Clegg and his policies before, and some commentators believe the debate may have turned the election into a genuine three-horse race.

Much of the online interest in Clegg translated into traffic to the Lib Dem web site. The party managed to improve its 'market share' to 31.21 percent, catching up to Conservative's 33.46 percent and Labour's 35.33 per cent, according to HitWise.

It was a different story in February, when the Conservatives commanded an almost 50 percent share, compared to the Lib Dems with less that 20 per cent.

Google Trends is currently showing queries for 'Nick Clegg' spiking at six times the April average on 16 April, the day after the debate.

Nick Who?