In order to gauge Iowans’ interest around the candidates in the U.S. presidential primaries and compare against national results, data-driven digital marketing company iQuanti pulled monthly Google search volumes for the candidates’ names and the most popular topic-based keywords of relevance for the months of June through December 2015, both nationally and for the state of Iowa. The data below includes rankings for the seven months and most recently for the month of December; monthly totals for top keyword search terms around each candidate; and month-over-month data measuring changes in search volumes for each candidate’s name in Google searches.
Candidate Rankings by 7-Month Average and December Search Volumes
Candidates are ranked based on 7-month averages of U.S. and Iowa search volumes for searches of their names. Search volumes for the month of December are also included, with changes in ranking over the averages highlighted green (increase) or red (decrease).
DONALD TRUMP (R)
The most popular topics searched around Donald Trump centered on his wife and his age, with “donald trump wife” the most popular of relevant topic-based keywords searched between June 1 and December 31 nationally and interest around the candidate’s age slightly ahead in searches in Iowa for the same period.
BERNIE SANDERS (D)
National searches regarding Bernie Sanders largely focused on the candidate’s platform, followed by searches around his net worth. In Iowa, the most popular searches focused on the candidate’s age, followed by searches around his platform.
HILLARY CLINTON (D)
The leading search nationally around Hillary Clinton focused around the candidate’s age, followed by searches related to the candidate’s ongoing email investigation, with “hillary clinton email” being the most popular keyword in September and a close second to age-related searches through the end of the year. In Iowa, Clinton’s email investigation saw the most searches with heavy interest between September 1 and November 30, while interest around the candidate’s age saw steady growth based on keyword searches over the seven-month period.
BEN CARSON (R)
The most popular nationally searched topic relating to Ben Carson last summer was around the 2009 television biopic Gifted Hands as the keyword “ben carson movie” ranked first in topic-based searches through the end of August, with interest shifting heavily toward his wife beginning in August and dominating the top keyword searches through the end of 2015. In Iowa, however, searches for “ben carson quotes” was the most popular topic-based search through the summer, with the heaviest interest around Carson’s views in September and October, and around his wife (by name) in November and December.
CARLY FIORINA (R)
Consistently, Americans searched most around Fiorina’s net worth, followed closely by searches around her husband Frank Fiorina. Iowan searches compared similarly, with searches for Frank Fiorina having a slight lead for the top keyword search.
TED CRUZ (R)
Ted Cruz’s wife has been the most searched topic around the candidate nationally during the seven months ending December 31, closely followed by searches regarding the candidate’s Canadian birthplace. In Iowa, the candidate’s age saw the most interest consistently over the period.
JEB BUSH (R)
Consistently through the end of 2015, the most searched topic relating to Jeb Bush was around his wife, with interest in the candidate’s net worth a very distant second. In Iowa, searches around the candidate’s wife also saw the most interest, followed by searches around his daughter Noelle.
MARCO RUBIO (R)
The most searched topic based on the top keyword searches relevant to Marco Rubio was consistently around his wife Jeanette Dousdebes over the 7 months ending December 31. In Iowa, searches around his wife also saw the most interest, except in December when the state saw increased interest around the candidate’s age.
RAND PAUL (R)
Both nationally and in Iowa, the most searched topic regarding Rand Paul was his wife, Kelly Ashby, between June 1 and December 31, with the exception of the month of October when the candidate’s headline-making filibuster saw the most interest.
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R)
The most searched topic relating to Chris Christie during the last seven months was regarding news associated with the candidate, closely followed by interest in his wife Mary Pat Foster.
JOHN KASICH (R)
Both nationally and in Iowa, the most searched topic by keyword around Johns Kasich was regarding the candidate’s current position as Ohio Governor, more than tripling searches for the next topic, his wife Karen Waldbillig.
MARTIN O’MALLEY (D)
The most searched topic-based keyword regarding Martin O’Malley nationally centered on his position on education, closely followed by more general searches around his platform and net worth. In Iowa, searches around the candidate’s position on the issues dominated topic-based searches for the same period.
MIKE HUCKABEE (R)
Both nationally and in Iowa, interest in Huckabee’s net worth dominated searches based on the most popular topic-based keywords around the candidate, followed by searches around his age.
RICK SANTORUM (R)
Journalist and LGBT activist Dan Savage’s 2003 tongue-in-cheek neologism campaign to provide a crude definition for Rick Santorum’s last name in response to the his opposition to same-sex marriage continues to haunt the candidate, with the topic seeing the most interest consistently among the leading topic-based keyword searches, which include “santorum definition” and “rick santorum urban dictionary.”
JIM GILMORE (R)
Jim Gilmore has been the least searched candidate among both Republicans and Democrats. Due to minimal search volumes, no additional data was available regarding topic-based keyword searches related to the candidate.
Month-over-month Change in Candidate Name Keyword Searches
In order to see trends in growth and loss of interest around the candidates, the analysis below illustrates the ups and downs of searches for the candidates’ names as keywords in Google Search by percentage nationally, along with percentages for Iowa searches to see how trends in the state compare against the entire country.