Trends Show Sanders, Trump Leading, Strong Dem Enthusiasm, As 1st Caucus Looms
This is one of those stories where a picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. Or, in this case, a few graphs are.
As the influential, first in the nation Iowa caucuses rapidly approach, Google Trends data harvested tonight shows a clear enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans, with interest in Democratic party candidates surging, as interest in Republican party candidates wanes. The data also shows that while Sanders and Trump both dominate their respective parties, the closest runner-up in either party is Hillary Clinton, who (to use a very Iowa caucus-esque term) is clearly also a very “viable candidate”. Meanwhile in the GOP, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are equally tied for runner-up status.
As far as losers go, the date is just as conclusive. Martin O’Malley is a non-starter on the Democratic side. On the GOP side, Rand Paul is the non-starter, and Ben Carson should probably call it a day, too.
Enthusiasm gap: Dems lead republicans in search interest
For all the talk of Donald Trump in the media, it’s Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton who seem to generate the most enthusiasm among web searchers. Any excitement about Donald Trump, however, has remained much more steady – with the exception of a “yuge” but short lived spike in interest that coincided with his debate skipping stunt of the other night.
When you consider that these search trends are nationwide, and that once a nominee in each of the two parties is chosen whatever enthusiasm exists behind the candidates is likely to coalesce behind the nominees, this paints a worrying picture for Republicans. With Donald Trump (a man who two thirds of Americans disagree with, or even fear) as a front runner, and a tepid interest level in their candidate, facing off against a Sanders or Clinton campaign with the kind of enthusiasm shown in these trends, combined (particularly if the two Democrats unite into a single ticket) must be a disconcerting notion for Republican leadership.
Sanders leads dems in search interest
Fresh off one of the greatest achievements one can manage in life, having an ice cream flavor named after you, Bernie Sanders is riding high in search interest. Of Democratic candidates, 52% of the search interest went to Sanders at the time I sampled this data, 10 points up from Clinton’s 42%. O’Malley got just 6%.
Trump leads GOP search interest
For all the news coverage, you’d think that Donald Trump has the most commanding lead of any candidate. While that’s true within the confines of his own party, it bears noting that Trump’s lead in the GOP contest was at 46% when sampled, putting him 6 points behind Sanders. So, theoretically, if the election were today Sanders would trounce Trump.
However, the election is not today. And so what really matters is that at 46% of search interest, Trump leads his closest challenger Ted Cruz by 26 points. Marco Rubio, with 18% of the search interest in Republican candidates, is just 2 points behind Cruz’s 20% – a statistical tie. While Ben Carson gets 10%, and Rand Paul only 6%.
In Iowa, where the first in the nation Caucuses will happen in less than 48 hours from this writing, the search interest data draws a startling picture. First, there’s the very interesting factoid The same counties seem to go for Sanders on the Democratic side as go for Trump on the Republican side, even as the counties that go for Ted Cruz on the GOP side go for Hillary on the Dem side. While the one county that goes for O’Malley from the Dem field seems to be leaning towards Jeb Bush on the GOP ticket. But most obvious is the sheer domination of Sanders and Trump, who each take the vast majority of Iowa’s counties. And, with most of Iowa’s population centers in Sanders/Trump counties, where Iowa’s delegates are likely to go is also made pretty clear.
What these search trends show most clearly is that regardless of what the mainstream media and the political establishment think of them, both Trump and Sanders are serious contenders. And also very clear is that the ace up the Democratic party’s sleeve might just be less in the idea that Sanders or Clinton might be the Democratic nominee for President, but rather that Sanders or Clinton might be their party’s nominee for Vice President.
They also show that if you’re a Democrat in Iowa, you better show up early for the Caucus on Monday. There could be a line. Better get there by 6 o’clock.