Tag Archives: Ron Paul

Can Google Predict the Minnesota Caucuses?

7 Feb

Ron Paul Trending Well in Minnesota

                It’s far from a scientific sample of the electorate, but Google has so far been a fairly reliable predictor of election results so far in the 2012 presidential cycle. 

                Google tracks what people search for online.  In a way, it’s a measure of groundswell and interest.  Marketers call it buzz.  When one mines the Google Trends data just for Minnesota in the past 30 days the search results show Ron Paul far and away has the most buzz. (Figure 1) 

Figure 1 - Minnesota Google Search Trends

               In the past six months I’ve observed how Google Trends served as a barometer for Michele Bachmann’s surprise win in the Iowa Straw Poll and Rick Santorum’s tight finish in the Iowa Caucuses.

                The latest scientific poll out by Public Policy Polling shows Rick Santorum with a substantial lead over Mitt Romney, 30-24%.  Newt Gingrich is next with 22% and 20% for Ron Paul.  In other words, PPP shows nearly the opposite results as Google.

                To be sure, Ron Paul has attracted a loyal following of younger supporters who have swamped every Minnesota campaign appearance in the past several days.  Paul has also trended very well in Google in previous presidential contests.  In fact, Google Trends showed him with the most buzz prior to the Iowa Caucuses.  However, he has not been able to convert that buzz into votes.  We’ll see if he’s able to accomplish that Tuesday night in Minnesota.

Ron Paul’s to Lose? How Google May Predict The Iowa Caucuses

31 Dec

            As we approach the Iowa Caucuses the GOP presidential candidates are making their closing arguments, but in many respects the party faithful are already voting—with their computers. The results present a fascinating web search tracking poll that could very well become a significant predictor of Tuesday’s winners and losers.

            Back in August, the folks at Google digested the internet search trends of Iowans leading up to the GOP Straw Poll. Native daughter Michele Bachmann dominated the search results and became the somewhat surprise winner of the straw poll. (Figure 1)

Google GOP Candidate Search in Iowa

Figure 1 - August Google GOP Candidate Searches in Iowa

            But the latest Google data from Iowa paints a different story. Texas Congressman Ron Paul far and away leads the trend results with Bachmann significantly trailing. (Figure 2)

Figure 2 - Current Google GOP Candidate Searches in Iowa

            Paul is the only candidate who is trending up, everyone else is in a steep decline. In fact during the last 30 days in Iowa, Bachmann barely registers on Google Trends. Similar search data in August showed former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty barely trending and in the end he failed miserably in the straw poll and promptly withdrew from the presidential race.

            In my August 15th post, I noted how Bachmann was like a product brand and successfully used two key marketing drivers to her advantage, buzz and activation. She was able to garner much needed attention by positioning herself as the outspoken native Iowan who saluted to the Tea Party flag. Most critically, she was able to activate that buzz into votes at the straw poll. Bachmann was the Tobasco Sauce in a field of corn heading for the canning factory.

           Five months later the trend results indicate Iowans feel burned and are searching for someone with less spice. Enter Ron Paul. He’s positioned himself as the Heinz 57 of the field—bold and authentic. He also has a consistent narrative.

GOP Presidential Candidate Ron Paul

            Hamline University analyst David Schultz has repeatedly made a compelling case that narratives win elections. Paul’s Libertarian narrative of less government and more individual freedom may represent views that are outside of the mainstream, but nevertheless have been authentically consistent. Meanwhile, Bachmann’s narrative and brand have both been eroded by unfocused campaign appearances and staff defections. Iowans through their search results seem to indicate they no longer have an appetite for hot sauce, but they certainly aren’t big on ketchup either. (Gingrich, Romney, Perry, and Santorum)

            Clearly, Paul has the buzz. What remains to be proven is if his brand is strong enough to activate that buzz into votes at Tuesday’s caucuses.

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