Google Trends data has successfully predicted every presidential election since 2004. Which candidate is currently in the lead for the 2024 presidential election, according to the search giant?
Google Trends data is widely regarded as a strong source for measuring American public interest. According to a 2021 paper published in American Behavioral Scientist, Google trends analysis "has predicted the real winner in all the elections held since 2004." As such, The Cultural Currents Institute decided to track Google search interest in presidential candidates in order to determine who is in the lead right now.
The one month peak for any candidate was on May 9, when Donald Trump was found liable for sexually abusing E. Jean Carroll. The second highest search day for any candidate was for Ron DeSantis on May 25, the day after he announced he was running for president.
At this stage, Google searches for former President Trump and sitting President Joe Biden maintain healthy levels while Ron DeSantis is ascendant. The Republican governor holds significant search volume in his home state of Florida — an important state to carry for a presidential run. Other candidates lack significant search interest, indicating low awareness among voters.
For each candidate, we've listed the top five states (or D.C. if applicable) searching for them. New Hampshire and Iowa feature heavily in many candidate's top five, due to their early role in the election process. D.C. also features prominently, likely due to the early stage of the contest and the high concentration of D.C. residents who work in politics or politically adjacent fields.
Joe Biden, 46th President of the United States, served as Vice President under Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. Prior to that, he was a six-term senator from Delaware, first elected in 1972. Biden has been involved in numerous major policy areas including foreign affairs and judiciary matters, and is one of the longest-serving senators in U.S. history.
Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States, was a businessman and television personality before his presidency from 2017 to 2021. Known for his divisive rhetoric and policies, he faced impeachment twice but was acquitted both times. As of 2023, he is a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election despite ongoing legal troubles.
Ron DeSantis is a Republican politician serving as Governor of Florida since 2019. Known for his conservative stance on issues like abortion and LGBTQ rights, DeSantis gained popularity within his party after a resounding reelection victory in 2022. Despite facing opposition from within his party, notably from Donald Trump, DeSantis announced his campaign for the presidency in 2023.
Nikki Haley, a Republican politician, served as Governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017 and was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2018 under Donald Trump. She is notable for her potential to be the first woman and first person of color to secure the Republican presidential nomination. Haley announced her campaign for presidency in 2023.
Tim Scott, a Republican, is the only Black Senator in the U.S. Senate, representing South Carolina since 2013. Known for working across party lines on issues such as police reform, Scott announced his campaign for presidency in 2023 and has been welcomed by notable figures including Donald Trump.
Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech and healthcare entrepreneur, is known for his writing opposing corporate "wokeism" and identity politics. Despite being relatively unknown among most Americans, Ramaswamy announced his campaign for presidency in 2023.
Asa Hutchison, a Republican politician, served as the Governor of Arkansas from 2015 to 2023, and was a congressman before that. Known for his stance against isolationism and his call for civility in campaigning, Hutchison announced his presidential campaign in 2023.
Larry Elder is a conservative talk radio host who has never held elective office. Despite this, he was the top Republican vote-getter in the unsuccessful 2021 attempt to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom. Elder announced his campaign for presidency in 2023.
Google Trends data was collected for each candidate between April 30, 2023 and May 31, 2023. Google's proprietary 100 point scoring system was used to represent each term's normalized search volume proportional to all other searches in the region or time period compared. In this system, 100 represents the highest popularity for the term, 50 represents half the popularity, and so on.
Google Trends data is widely regarded as a strong source for measuring American public interest. According to a 2021 paper published in American Behavioral Scientist found that "this method has predicted the real winner in all the elections held since 2004."