The list of most popular politicians for the year could certainly vary quite widely. Of course it depends on what you mean by “popular.” Technically, the term means someone who is “widely liked or appreciated,” according to The Free Dictionary.” However, sometimes being the most popular politician is less about being liked or admired and more about simply being well-known. After all, did you really like all the so-called “popular” kids in high school? Admit it, there were probably one or two you really couldn’t stand. Politicians are pretty much the same.

But I digress. Here’s a look at some of the most popular politicians online, using web mentions (both good and bad) as a measuring stick.

Most popular politician on Google search

Of course Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is pretty much the master of information these days, and if you just run a basic search on the “most popular politician,” here’s what you get:

Most Popular Politician

Most popular politicians according to Google Trends

What’s important to realize is that this image is just a picture of which politicians are popular right now. However, if you dig a little more deeply into Google’s vast databases of information, you find the top 10 most popular politicians separated into lists for both male and female. All of these politicians have made headlines for one thing or another this year.

Here’s Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s list of most popular male politicians for 2013:

Former South African president Nelson Mandela passed away recently, so it’s no surprise that he’s at the top of the list. He truly changed the world, and his passing was mourned by many countries around the world.

The next two are no big surprise either. Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and President Obama are two major opposing forces in the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The more the president pushed, the more Cruz pushed back. He’s let everyone know exactly how he feels about it.

Most popular female politicians for 2013

And here’s the list of Google’s most popular female politicians according to Google Trends:

As you can see, another Texas politician tops the list of the trending or most popular female politicians for this year. Democrat Wendy Davis filibustered for 11 hours to block a bill which would put more regulations on abortion. She is now planning a run to be Texas’ next governor.

California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein was second on the list, possibly because of her connection with the National Security Agency’s digital surveillance programs. She defended most of the agency’s practices and branded NSA leaker Edward Snowden a traitor.