The good citizens of New Hampshire descend upon the voting booths today and, ahead of whatever today's results may yield (i.e., Mitt Romney wins), Google Elections & Politics has some encouraging news for oft-neglected Republican candidate Jon Huntsman.
As you probably noticed (or, understandably, didn't notice), Huntsman barely made a blip in last week's Iowa caucuses as he had a solidly poor showing of only receiving 0.6% of all votes cast. The results can largely be chalked up to Huntsman's campaign itself since he has essentially put all of his election eggs into the New Hampshire basket where he hopes to establish himself as a legitimate contender against Romney's all-but-foregone coronation as the Republican presidential nominee.
And whaddya know, it appears to be working! Shortly after the dawn of today's election, Google Elections & Politics made an update on their Plus account citing a post-debate (the Republican candidates had a twofer this past weekend) swell of interest in Huntsman. Google explains:
We compared search traffic for each of the candidates on Saturday to searches for their names on Monday during the same time period. Though there are fewer searches on weekends, we found a wide variation in the degree of search volume for each candidate. As you can see in the first graph below, Jon Huntsman saw the sharpest increase in search traffic at 50%. He was followed by Newt Gingrich (+21%), Mitt Romney (+18%), and Ron Paul (+8%). Rick Santorum was the only candidate who actually saw a decrease in search traffic (-35%).
And like that - SHAZAM! - Huntsman's got a dog in this fight. It's too bad the campaign season didn't start this past weekend or else Huntsman might have a real chance of crushing his opponents in one swoop. Unfortunately for him, election cycles don't ever really start or stop, so he's got his work cut out for him. Still, part of his appeal to New Hampshirers may be due to his Rudy-like moments in this past weekend's debates, which his campaign shared on his website:
Seriously, with that dramatic music and the way the other nominees are standing off to the side in their nearly-submissive repose, you halfway expect mobs of supporters to circle Huntsman at the end of his speech and triumphantly hoist him up onto their shoulders. One reason we probably didn't see that dramatic conclusion is that Huntsman is still a relatively fresh face among a field of candidates that have thus far been taking turns in a roulette of Not Romney candidates hewn to a surge-and-decline pattern. Google compiled the trends of searches on the Republican candidates and it appears that Huntsman's star is rising:
The numbers all appear really promising but... these are all search trends gathered from the past couple of days. But who knows, he might fall as quickly as he has ascended since that's been the fate of every other single Not Romney candidate. Previous to the New Hampshire primaries today, it wasn't too common to hear much about Huntsman as he was pretty obscure among his fellow candidates. As encouraging as it must be for his campaign to see this kind of increase in attention, the benefit is negligible at best and a treasure chest of pyrite at worst. If the nation's interest in Huntsman before the New Hampshire debates was hovering around the Hardly Anything point, a 50% boost of search trends on Hardly Anything is still Hardly Anything.
Incredibly, WebProNews was able to get an exclusive reaction from Mitt Romney, who took a moment from his very busy schedule today to offer the following assessment of Huntsman's climb in the polls: