Polls, polls, polls. We are currently being bombarded with them. The views of just a few thousand people on a multitude of candidates with margins of error so wide they often don't tell us anything at all.
I've never been polled. Or met anyone that's ever been polled. And perhaps because in my cynicism I can't see a poll without thinking of the maxim "lies, damned lies, and statistics," I do wonder how many people actually tell a pollster the honest truth.
So where can the truth be found about the 2012 presidential election? Where are people honest because they are under the impression that nobody can see or hear them? One answer is Google, which is estimated to have a 65% market share of the 270 million Americans who use the internet. Granted these numbers may come from a poll, but they are far more significant than a couple of thousand people who could be bothered to answer someone from a phone bank.
At time of writing, a straightforward traditional Google search (without Google Plus) of an individual, reveals the top three search words connected with them. For the men who would be president in 2012 they are the following:
Mitt Romney: net worth, dog, bio.
Ron Paul: 2012, wiki, polls.
Rick Santorum: gay, wiki, website.
Newt Gingrich: bio, affair, issues.
Rick Perry: gay, drunk, debate.
Jon Huntsman: daughters, sr, net worth.
Barack Obama: biography, Twitter, net worth.
Of course on many levels we can scoff at these results. They are somewhat frivolous, preposterous. And most of us are not privy to all of Google's algorithms and how they really arrive at their outcomes. That being said, the Google search is still in some ways as true a snapshot of public opinion as any currently out there.
On the Google search wars, Ron Paul is the clear winner. People are interested in him for 2012, what he's done and how he's doing in the polls. However, in reality, he's not going to be president. Some speculate he could be a third party candidate -- but would Ron Paul really do that to his Republican senator son Rand? I'm not so sure.
Thus the winner in this Google research poll, who has a shot of winning in November, is Obama. Since he spends so much of his time saying he should be taxed more, his net worth is not going to play against him in the way of the Republican candidates. The fact that people are interested in his biography and what his campaign team has to say for him on Twitter will also not hurt him.
While Obama and Paul come out ahead, Santorum and Perry have some coming out issues. Santorum's views on the subject are abhorrent, the aspersions around Perry's I leave for those who would like to Google them. Suffice to say that if either of them are contenders in the months after South Carolina, they will be facing some serious grilling.
The third placed finisher in New Hampshire, Jon Huntsman, is from his results being eclipsed by his family with daughter and daddy issues, while Newt Gingrich is by his extramarital affairs.
So we come to the expected Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. His net worth is going to be an issue. We will be hearing more about that unreleased tax return and what he was up to at Bain. Some animal rights activists -- and satirists -- may say that Americans, who spend an estimated $50 billion a year on their pets, will never forgive him for strapping his defecating family dog to the roof of his car as he drove to Canada.
Of course this Google check doesn't say it all, but it does say something. As we are subjected to a barrage of polls from South Carolina and beyond, they indicate that President Obama will face off against Mitt Romney in November. And that we could be seeing quite a lot of Bo, the White House dog, on the campaign trail.
PS: before "comments" bring it up, if you Google me, "dating, Twitter and bikini" prove to be the most popular searches. Follow me on Twitter at the below link to find out when I'll be talking politics on MSNBC -- but not who I'm dating or when I'll be wearing a bikini!