Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Surging Wes Moore, Donald Trump-endorsed Dan Cox top Google searches in Maryland governor race

Democrat Wes Moore (left) and
Republican Dan Cox top Google searches
in Maryland governor race

The lack of polling in the Maryland race to decide who will succeed Republican Larry Hogan as governor is leaving pundits, candidates and voters alike in the dark. On the Democratic side of the contest, all prognosticators have had to look at recently are a straw poll, a tracking poll obtained by WUSA 9, and a poll conducted for the Wes Moore campaign by a well-known polling firm; no major polling data has been released on the Republican side of the race. One other data point we can look at is Google search data in Google Trends. It doesn't tell us who voters will cast their ballots for, but it does indicate whom the voters want to know more about, and which candidates' names are on the minds of the public.

Wes Moore (red) vs. Dan Cox (blue) in 
Google searches over the last year

Democrat Wes Moore is by far the most-searched for candidate in the governor race over the last year, according to Google Trends data. Among Republicans, Delegate Dan Cox is the most-searched for by a wide margin. Democrat Tom Perez is very competitive with Cox over the last year, making him the second most-searched for Democrat. Moore easily tops all Democrats, although it is difficult to get an accurate result for John King, as searches for the CNN journalist of the same name are mixed in with those for the gubernatorial candidate. "John King, Jr" produces a trend line far below that of Moore's.

Wes Moore (blue) vs. Democrats Tom Perez (yellow), 
Peter Franchot (red), Doug Gansler (green) and
Rushern Baker (purple)

Each of the three boast big-impact endorsers, and their popularity in Google search is consistent over the last year, less dependent on events to spike interest. All three also benefit from having a national profile. While Republican candidate Kelly Schulz is well-known in Maryland GOP circles, she is still introducing herself to voters outside of the party, including a six-figure radio and TV ad buy this month in the Baltimore and Washington markets. 

Dan Cox (blue) vs. Republicans Kelly Schulz (red),
Robin Ficker (yellow), Joe Werner (green)

Google Trends won't tell us definitively who the actual frontrunners are, or who is likely to win. But they tell us who is on the minds of the voters, and who they want to know more about. They provide another intriguing view of the race for political junkies, and another data point to synthesize with what little else is out there - fundraising totals, endorsements, event turnout, etc. - to give us some insight into one of the most competitive and fog-shrouded horse races for Maryland's top office in recent history.

Dan Cox (blue) neck-and-neck with Tom Perez (red)
in Google searches over the last year

Wes Moore (blue) vs. Democrats John King, Jr. (red),
Jon Baron (yellow), Ashwani Jain (green) and
Jerome Segal (purple)

Wes Moore (blue) vs. Kelly Schulz (red)

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