"If you build the wall the same way you built Trump Towers, you'll be using illegal immigrant labor to do it," said Marco Rubio during the Republican presidential debate Thursday night in Texas. "Go online and Google it, 'Donald Trump Polish workers.' You'll see it."
Many Americans did. In fact, searches for "Donald Trump and Polish workers" rose nearly 300%, and continued to remain higher than average Friday, according to Google Trends. At 8:55 EST, Rubio overtook Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz for the No. 2 spot and rarely looked back.
Rubio's reference points to a July 1990 New York Times article reporting that Trump used "200 undocumented workers to demolish the old Bonwit Teller building" prior to the construction of Trump Tower.
Searches conducted in New Jersey showed the highest interest in the topic, followed by New Hampshire, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Maryland, and Connecticut.
I wouldn't exactly consider doing a Google search "fact checking," but the moment summarizes the growing debate around immigration and becomes a reminder of how so many people worldwide get their information from search engines -- not just Google, Bing and Yahoo, but Facebook and Twitter.
Immigration, Obamacare and ISIS, respectively, were the top three most debated topics of the night, according to Google Trends. Other topics included economy, same-sex marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court, gun control, abortion, campaign finance, and Iran's nuclear program.
Specific to the state of Texas candidate search ranking on Friday, Google Trends identifies Trump's lead, followed by Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and John Kasich.
Each of the candidates maintain a knowledge graph on Google, but John Kasich is the only presidential Republican candidate running a paid-search ad targeting voters in Southern California.
What the candidates lack in paid-search advertising buys they make up for in television advertising. My colleague Wayne Friedman in Media Daily News cites numbers from iSpot.tv estimating that since December 2015, Marco Rubio's team has spent more on national TV media than all presidential candidates combined -- about $675,825 on "Marco Rubio for President" -- while his political action committee, “Conservative Solutions PAC,” has spent $966,021. In comparison, Donald Trump spent $26,492 for "Donald J. Trump for President."