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Donald Trump Is Losing Ground On Google

Almost ever since Donald Trump announced his bid for the Republican nomination in June, he has dominated online — in news coverage, in Twitter followers and in Google searches, a rough proxy for public interest in each candidate. Other than a brief surge by Ben Carson in the fall — reflected in the polls and in Google searches — Trump has dominated the national conversation around the Republican race. Or he had, at least, until the Iowa caucuses on Monday.

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Last Friday, three days before the caucuses, Trump was the subject of nearly twice as many Google searches as the combined total of his top four competitors: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson and Jeb Bush.1 Then Cruz won the most votes and delegates in Iowa. Trump finished second, with Marco Rubio a close third. That evidently sent many Americans searching for information about candidates other than Trump. Searches for Cruz and Rubio started rising the day of the caucus, and peaked the next day.2 Nationally, as well as in New Hampshire and South Carolina — sites of the next two Republican primaries — Cruz got more Google searches than Trump did on Tuesday. He was just behind Trump in Nevada.

Since then, order has been restored to campaign Google activity. Trump has returned to his top spot in search activity, just as he’s managed to hold on to his leads in New Hampshire and national polls. But his lead online isn’t as formidable as it once was, particularly in New Hampshire, where searches for either Cruz or Rubio are greater than half the number for Trump.

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  1. They rank second through fifth, respectively, in our average of national polls. Google Trends data is given in Coordinated Universal Time, which I’ve converted to Eastern Standard time. Data runs from noon last Friday to 11 a.m. today.
  2. Hourly searches peaked the night of the caucuses, but daily average searches peaked the next day.

Carl Bialik is FiveThirtyEight’s lead writer for news.

Filed under 2016 Election 1021 posts, Donald Trump 573, 2016 Republican Primary 315, Ted Cruz 158, Marco Rubio 124, Iowa Caucus 73, Ben Carson 54, New Hampshire Primary 44, Google Trends 9

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