August 28, 2008

Google Buzz: McCain Picks Mitt Romney for VP

UPDATE 8/28: Ooops. I didn't consider Palin in this. If you throw Palin's name in the mix everything changes.

If Google searches are any indication then McCain has picked former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to be his Vice President. Searches for Mitt Romney over the past 24 hours are up, while searches for Tim Pawlenty have flat lined. The same holds true for Joe Lieberman. And look at the past week.

mitt-romney-vp-google-trends.jpg

We'd get a better feel for this if Google's Hot Trends was working, but as of this writing it's down for maintenance.

There are a lot of theoretical reasons why ground up information from sources like Google are a better predictor than "expert" opinion. I know it's a little different than an election given that ultimately it's John McCain's decision, but expert opinion on who McCain has picked is an act of one person (the expert) reading another person's (John McCain's) mind.

I actually like Google Trends as a predictor more than futures markets like Intrade because there is a larger sample size and therefore, presumably, more sources of knowledge. Bigger collective, more wisdom. But even so, Intrade has Romney to be VP at 57% while Pawlenty lags at about 40%.

So, if the collective wisdom about who McCain has picked is better than that of the so-called experts: tomorrow John McCain will announce Mitt Romney as his running mate.

To be honest, I hope this is a case where Google Trends is wrong. Why? Just Google "Pawlenty" or "Tim Pawlenty" then scroll down a little and I think you'll see why a Pawlenty pick is in my self-interest.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:05 PM | Comments |