Guest contributor, Brian Penny, shares his predictions on the 2016 Presidential election based on SEO data below. We’ll find out if he’s right on November 8! Only 11 months to go!
The 2016 Political Races Predicted by SEO
As I was perusing my SEO analytics dashboards this winter, I thought it would be fun to see if SEO tools can also be used to predict Presidential election results. Back in 2008, Nate Silver successfully used big data analysis to predict 49 out of 50 states in the U.S. Presidential election. Big data is already being touted as a defining factor of the upcoming 2016 election, so why wait for the primaries when we can figure out the winners now?
The Last Time Around
I started by opening BuzzSumo and SEMRush to run a few queries on Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the Democratic and Republican party candidates in our last election. Here are the search volumes and the most popular search terms for these two men in January 2012, which was just about the same point in the elections then as we are now in 2016.
Liberals, Independents & Conservatives, Oh My!
Although Obama was already President, and, therefore, pre-dispositioned to elicit more news stories than Romney, the consistent outperformance in the search volumes, articles, and results can’t be denied. Satisfied these results are about as clear as any other polling results, I did a general overview of how people feel by checking search trends for the terms “liberal,” “conservative” and “independent.”
While I understand that usage of these terms is independent of their political usage, I also know liberal usage of certain terms provide a conservative idea of how people feel on the whole.
According to the online data, both liberals and conservatives are relatively even (or at least competitive), but the large majority is undecided. It doesn’t take much big-data analysis to know this to be true. At the beginning of 2016, many people have ideas of how they want to vote, but without even knowing the candidates for sure, a lot is up in the air.
So my next logical step in determining who may win the 2016 election is to check out how the numbers of each party’s front-runners compares to Romney and Obama back in 2012.
In the Democratic party, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are widely considered to be the front-runners for the presidential election.
Although Clinton has twice the search results of Sanders (118M online results vs 65.8M), the search volume for Bernie Sanders (823K vs 673K for Clinton) is higher and continues to grow stronger, whereas Clinton’s has relatively leveled off.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson are the front-runners. Carson has a respectable 368K search volume while Donald Trump pulls in 1.5M, which (please excuse the pun) trumps the search volume for both Obama and Romney during this time in 2012.
Though it can be assumed many people plan to vote against Trump and are making up much of this search volume, the consistent public chatter about does serve as viral campaigning for him.
The Winner (According to SEO)
I still don’t know who I’m going to vote for, and even I’m talking about Trump as possibly winning the 2016 Presidential election simply based on SEO tools.
The numbers don’t lie, and although Dr. Ben Carson and Hillary Clinton are being predicted as possible winners by the BBC, Trump and Clinton appear to have the best chance of appearing as candidates.
There’s still primary elections, party announcements, and running mates to be determined, but, as the data looks right now, we may be facing a Trump presidency. Hopefully he fires the right people.
What are your predictions? Tell us in the comments below.
Brian Penny is a guest contributor to the Volume Nine blog.