In late December, nearly two million emails from Jeb Bush's two terms as governor of Florida were released following a public records request, and posted online. Jonathon Morgan crunched the numbers to find out what Floridians emailed their governor about — here were the most common topics:
Now, interest groups frequently urge their members to forward on form letters to politicians. But for this chart, Morgan actually tried to filter out messages with identical language, to focus instead on "emails that weren't solicited."
With that in mind, the Terri Schiavo controversy is easily the most common topic referenced, being mentioned in 35 percent of unsolicited emails sent to Bush during his administration, according to Morgan's tally. Schiavo was a Florida woman who had been in a persistent vegetative state for over a decade, and whose husband and parents fought about whether her feeding tube should be removed. Governor Bush sided with the parents, and worked to keep Schiavo alive. Eventually, federal courts sided against him, and Schiavo died in March 2005.
It's worth keeping in mind that over the course of Bush's two terms, lasting from 1999 to 2007, adoption of email picked up dramatically, so it's perhaps not surprising that an issue that broke toward the end of his governorship dominated his email correspondence. And snail mail, of course, isn't accounted for here.