Trump Indictments Practically Guarantee His GOP Nomination (According to Google Search Data)

Amid the Republican presidential primary, Google Trends showcases Trump's dominant search volume, hinting at his strong GOP nomination odds despite repeated indictments and arrests. Dive into a detailed analysis of how Trump's digital dominance may reflect his political trajectory, overshadowing his fellow Republican contenders.

In an age where digital footprints loom larger than ever, Google Trends has emerged as a robust barometer for gauging American public interest. In Presidential races, Google search volume seems significant because of what it portends about a political candidate's odds of success; a 2021 paper published in American Behavioral Scientist found that "this method [of measuring Google search volume] has predicted the real winner in all the elections held since 2004." It's understandable, then, that recent headlines have made much of Vivek Ramaswamy's rise in Google search volume following the recent Republican debate. Perhaps even more remarkable is how Ramaswamy's apparently meteoric rise is dwarfed by the current Republican front-runner.

Political consulting firm CCI analyzed recent search volume for the four most-Googled Republican candidates for president: Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, Ron DeSantis, and Nikki Haley. The findings suggest that Donald Trump, riding waves of interest driven by a repeated grand jury indictments and arrests, is a shoo-in for the nomination. The events - which may have sunk a conventional candidate - has had no discernible impact on the ex-president's popularity according to pollsters. Instead, the size and scope of his narrative appears to be eclipsing the opportunity for another Republican candidate to emerge. In other words, those who would most like to see Donald Trump removed from the American political discourse may in fact be paving his path back to the White House.

No Such Thing as Bad Press for Trump?

Since the beginning of May, just one Republican candidate has managed to surpass Donald Trump in total Google searches. For a single day after his bungled campaign announcement on May 24, Ron DeSantis enjoyed more attention on the search engine than Trump. Meanwhile, the ex-president's star has seemed to rise higher with each controversy with spikes in interest around every court date or arrest. This culminated the day after the first Republican debate, when Trump surrendered and was arrested in Fulton County, Georgia.

Poll aggregators like (pictured above) do not show any signs of Trump's position eroding due to bad press.

Given that Trump's base tend to reject the premises of the charges against him, it is unsurprising that they have consolidated behind the embattled 77-year-old. There is scarcely room in the narrative for anyone else. Even Vivek Ramaswamy, who enjoyed a meteoric boost in interest following the first GOP debate, achieved his comparatively modest notoriety with a strategy that included calling Trump "the best president of the 21st century." It's unclear how this strategy will differentiate Ramaswamy with a Republican base that seems to agree with him on that point.

"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?"
-Donald Trump


Google Trends data was collected for the top four Republican candidates by search volume as of August 27, 2023. Their search trends were analyzed between May 1, 2023 and August 27, 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.

About CCI

The Cultural Currents Institute is a top digital marketing agency with specialties in branding, public relations, and public affairs. We study trends in public opinion and build multichannel campaigns to suit client objectives. Clients range from pre-seed startups to Fortune 500 enterprises.