Britney Spears beats Barack Obama

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Maybe John McCain should be taking lessons from Britney Spears.

The oft-troubled pop star did something this year that the Republican nominee for President failed to do -- beat Barack Obama.

Oops, President Spears?

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No, don't panic, Spears did not win the presidency in any weird Florida-like hanging chad business. But she did top the President-elect this year in terms of overall online search -- at least at Yahoo anyway.

Amazingly, Britney Spears was the most popular search term on Yahoo for the fourth year in a row. Get this -- she's been the top searched term in seven of the last eight years.

Zero to Hero

Why? Vera Chan, senior editor of Yahoo Buzz, told the BBC it's all about redemption. The diva was a disaster in 2007 and has tried to overcome her monstrosity of troubles in 2008 -- thus the continued interest.

"She was number one last year for all the wrong reasons, and this year for all the right reasons," Ms Chan said.

"People like redemption tales. You can't have a public meltdown that big and not have people follow you."

There was buzz that Obama might top the charts this year. Nope. He came in third -- sandwiched between WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and Miley Cyrus.

Filling out the top ten: the online game RuneScape in at number five, actress Jessica Alba (six), the cartoon series Naruto (seven), actresses Lindsay Lohan and Angelina Jolie (eight and nine), and reality TV talent show American Idol (ten).

Political searches

In terms of political figures, Obama was number one. Got a guess for number two?

Correct. The thrilla from Wasilla -- Sarah Palin.

Now, Yahoo isn't giving out specific figures so we don't know how close Palin was to Obama, but we do know order of the top ten political figures searched:

1. Barack Obama
2. Sarah Palin
3. John McCain
4. Hillary Clinton
5. George Bush
6. Ron Paul
7. John Edwards
8. Mike Huckabee
9. Arnold Schwarzenegger
10. Mitt Romney

Pop love

Why does pop culture dominate search terms? Yahoo Buzz explains it this way:

"Britney or Runescape is not in the news everyday, so people go online for updates. George W. Bush, on the other hand, is in the news quite often, so people need fewer updates. Also, as a past spokesperson once explained, after you get to a level of fame, you don't even have to do anything to maintain it."

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