Did Web Traffic Predict The Iowa Caucus Results?

Maybe, maybe not

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Is there a correlation between web traffic and the results of the Iowa Caucus? Well, maybe.

Hitwise’s Heather Hopkins was half right a couple of days ago, all the way from England. Hopkins measured the Iowa traffic going to different candidate websites and yes indeed Barack Obama beat out Hillary Clinton.

Did Web Traffic Predict The Iowa Caucus Results?

He beat her in New Hampshire, too.

However, if you’d based your prediction about the Republican winner on those same stats, you’d have picked Ron Paul for the Iowa darling, not Mike Huckabee. But that’s not so surprising considering Paul’s rabid online following.

But in New Hampshire, John McCain is winning, in terms of web traffic.

What about search stats? The results may be a bit murkier. If choosing a horse at the track, you might pick Obama to win based on Yahoo’s numbers, but only because the payoff would be higher. Obama was second overall in Yahoo searches, first among Iowa’s younger voters, and second among voters over 30. (Though I don’t know yet how they know the ages of Iowa searchers – awaiting a phone call on that one.) 

But Clinton and Edwards were tied for first. No dice for a solid prediction, but Huckabee was a solid third place, edging out Ron Paul. So, that’s a close call.

Google Trends said there wasn’t enough information available for just the past week or 30 days, so you have to look at searches in Iowa over the past year, which brings up November and December volumes.

In a comparison of the Democrats, Hillary was leading Barack, and so was John Edwards, just like with Yahoo. For the Republicans on Google Trends, it was a slaughter, with Ron Paul searches dwarfing searches for second place Mike Huckabee and third place Mitt Romney.

Based on the results, you might say site traffic is a more accurate predictor of which candidates will win the primaries than search, so long as the Internet population isn’t disproportionately slanted toward one of them, as seems to be the case with Ron Paul. 

Did Web Traffic Predict The Iowa Caucus Results?
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