If you think that search trends, Google News mentions and YouTube video views offer insight into the selection of a vice presidential nominee, Google Trends has you covered with a new VEEP Stakes” dashboard. Below, I’ve embedded the data around the candidates that the Washington Post has deemed most likely to be chosen by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to round out the top of the Republican ticket this fall. (Due to the limited width of this blog template, you can’t see Virginia governor Bob McConnell or Puerto Rico governor Luis Fortuno on the far right.)
Here’s how the Google Politics and Elections team introduced the dashboard in an update on Google Plus:
The summer before a Presidential election typically brings unending speculation about potential Vice Presidential picks. Veepstakes, as the process has commonly been referred to since 1988, has become a favorite topic of discussion among journalists and politicos.
We are excited to partner with +Washington Post’s +Chris Cillizza and The Fix to launch our first Veepstakes Trends Dashboard to track the buzz around GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s potential VP pick. The Veepstakes dashboard allows you to take the web’s real-time political pulse by comparing potential VP candidates’ YouTube video views, search traffic, and Google News mentions. You can even drill down and check out which potential nominee has been searched the most over the the last day, week or month.
While this is an interesting use of Google data, I find it of limited use in guessing who the Romney campaign will choose. The InTrade prediction for the 2012 Republican VP nominee ranked probabilities offer a much better instant insight into where the smart money from the collective wisdom of observers is pooled (Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) currently leads, at 21%) or, for that matter, Nate Silver’s statistical analyses of the vice presidential nominee’s effect on the race. All that being said, there’s a great deal of interest in who the next potential VP of the United States might be — and this data from Google reflect that wave. Make of it what you will.