The hunt for the next US president will take a big step toward becoming a two-person race after Super Tuesday, online-search results say.
At least one caucus or primary will be held in each of 12 states, and the team at Microsoft's Bing is among those predicting that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be the big winners of the day, giving each a leg up on securing the Democratic and Republican nominations, respectively.
In addition to using search queries, Bing says it arrived at the predictions using "machine-learned predictive models" that also take data from polls, prediction markets and social media posts. So far, Bing has correctly predicted seven of the eight primary and caucus results, missing only Ted Cruz's narrow victory in Iowa.
Bing predicted in a blog post Monday that the two leading candidates will each win all but one of their contests on Tuesday. Trump is seen winning 10 states but losing to Cruz in the latter's home state of Texas, while Clinton is seen winning 10 while losing to Bernie Sanders in his home state of Vermont.
Google searches also have done a pretty good job of predicting Republican winners so far this year, without even factoring in data from polls, social media or other sources. Check out the breakdown below to see how search volume for each of the candidates on the evening of the New Hampshire primary almost perfectly mirrors the results:
The Google Trends team created a visual tool to check on who is leading the search query war in near real time in each of the Super Tuesday Republican races. You can check it out for yourself below, but as of this writing the data seem to show the strongest level of interest in Trump across all states, with the exception of Cruz showing a little bit of a surge in Arkansas. Marco Rubio was also more heavily searched than Trump in North Dakota for just one second Monday evening.
The oracle of Google falls apart on the Democratic side of things, though, with Sanders racking up strong search interest this primary season but not yet converting that to any victories outside of New England.
We'll see soon if Americans continue to vote the way that they search (for Republicans, at least), but does search have anything to say about who will actually be the next occupant of the White House?
Well, if Bing searches were votes, and the general election were held today, then according to "search wave" data, Trump would be elected president by more than a 2-to-1 margin over Clinton.