Election Day – Trump wins in search and at the polls

Posted by Rebecca Appleton on 9 Nov, 2016
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It was one of the most divisive campaigns in history, fought across swing states and social media. As the dust settles on a historic win for billionaire businessman Donald Trump, we look at whether or not search predicted what the pundits didn't.

Going into last night’s results, Hillary Clinton was given a roughly 85% chance of victory, compared to Trump’s 15%. She had many more paths to the presidency than her rival and seemed to be on course for the White House.

However, while prevailing wisdom had Trump needing a miracle, a review of the search trends in the months and days leading up to Election Day told a different story. At times controversial and always good for a soundbite, Trump enjoyed the lion’s share of search volume.

In our Election Day piece yesterday we looked at who had dominated on Google, with Trump coming out a clear winner despite his outsider status:

  • From July 2015 right up until the poll booths opened, there was a much larger tract of search interest for Trump than Clinton
  • In the seven days leading up to Election Day, the search volumes were more neck-and-neck with just one spike in search interest – again for Trump
  • Donald Trump was the most popular election-related search term on Google in the last week, followed by Trump and Wikileaks. Hillary Clinton was only the fourth most popular term, with searchers typing in ‘Hillary Clinton age’ and then ‘Hillary Clinton polls’.

On Election Day itself, the searches related to Hillary Clinton took on a negative overtone with the three most popular queries being:

  1. hillary clinton becomes the unsafe hand
  2. hillary clinton spirit cooking
  3. nypd hillary clinton

Donald Trump meanwhile was picking up a lot of search interest for the search Vote For + candidate name, suggesting a greater level of intent as polls opened.

Source: Google trends


While early results gave some hope to Clinton, the search volume was overwhelmingly on Trump's side:

While political forecasters seemed to be suggesting a Clinton win, Google seems to have got it right all along with search insight showing greater momentum, interest and activity in the new President Elect for the duration of the campaign.

Meanwhile it was reported that Canada’s immigration website had crashed overnight - something widely attributed to a spike in traffic following the election results.

canada website

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