Data from Google Insights. States with smaller populations are less likely to have sufficient search volume given that Google calculates data based on samples (this includes some of the light blue states). Yet, the red-state blue-state divide seems to hold pretty well. The top ten states in terms of search volume were: New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Mexico, New York, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Oregon, Connecticut. Not exactly swing states. The plot below shows the correlation between the projected Obama advantage and the Googling behavior in a state (measured by Google Insights index, on which more some other time).

The fact that aggregate search volume in swing states is not particularly high does not mean that individual swing voters were not looking for this information or that some percentage of voters do not change their minds based on the gaffe. Yet, in the aggregate this picture is at least consistent with the idea that partisan pre-dispositions drive search behavior for gaffes.

ps. Search terms were: “47 Romney” + “47 percent” + “forty-seven percent” + “Romney video” + “Mother Jones Romney” + “47%” + “video 47” + “Mitt 47” + “Romney 47” + “47 Mitt” If someone can help find a way to embed these maps into WordPress, that would be great.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

Erik Voeten

Erik Voeten is the Peter F. Krogh associate professor of geopolitics and global justice at Georgetown University.