Want to know what folks are actually talking about and thinking about?  Don’t look for Facebook likes — check out Google Trends.

It’s long been speculated that there is a rough correlation between searches on Google and Google Trends as a smoothing measure to balance out polling data.  If elections are the only poll that matters, then Google Trends are a good indicator of where folks are headed.

In fact, it was part of the secret sauce that allowed me to predict in 2016 that Donald Trump was going to win the election last year (when even the most die hard of nationalist prognosticators had given up in Virginia — so much for the predictive analysis of paid hacks).

So let’s go to the big race first:

Perriello vs. Northam

Notable here? Perriello is slightly edging out Northam, and he’s doing it where it matters — Northern Virginia and Southside:

Interestingly enough, Perriello is struggling in the Golden Crescent of Virginia (NOVA to Richmond, Richmond to Hampton Roads) where most of the electorate is. Are appearances deceiving? Perhaps not… and if Perreillo runs up the numbers in progressive-leaning NOVA where arguably, the national narrative tends to drag elections? Buckle up… this is going to be a lot closer than folks realize.

Gillespie vs. Wagner vs. Stewart

Safe to say, it isn’t going to be enough for Republicans to merely nominate Gillespie — we have to beat Stewart and ensure that the “unity” tour emphatically and publicly rejects Stewart and the movement in toto — without compromise and with total clarity.

…but can it be done?

Now before Stewart fans let go with a Rebel Yell, let’s be clear as to why Stewart’s numbers are so high in the last day or so — it’s because Stewart wanted to run an ad showing the Kathy Griffin image of Trump’s bloody head.  Good attention, bad attention…

Of course, that piece being run by the Washington Post, the chorus of “OMG!” you hear are coming from — you guessed it — Northern Virginia:

Interesting to note here?  Stewart has made a concentrated effort to play ball in Southside… and is failing miserably at the task.

One minor highlight for Stewart’s efforts though?  “Ed Gillespie abortion” is trending, meaning that the vicious and false smear attack on Gillespie for not being pro-life enough (sic actually supporting partial birth abortions — a lie at best and a calumny at worst) is at least driving folks to ask questions.

Vogel vs. Reeves vs. Davis

The battle royale for the GOP activist base in Virginia is turning into… a snoozefest.

Jill Vogel has turned it into one by sheer force of will (and by force of will, we mean gobs of cash).  Name ID alone is carrying the battle standards forward, though interestingly enough to Virginia political observers, Reeves is carrying his own water indeed… with Davis simply too far back to catch up at this rate.

Conclusions?

A betting man is going to put money on Gillespie-Vogel-Adams as the ticket, though turnout is going to be the name of the game for the GOP nod in both races.  Stewart might be gathering interest among Google searches… but how much of that is merely folks slowing down to look at Stewart’s car wreck of a campaign remains to be seen.

The more interesting match is on the Democratic side of the field, where Northam and Perriello seem to be heading towards a photo finish and a sharply divided party heading into the November general elections.  Turnout for the Dems will more than likely drive at a 2:1 ratio against the Republicans, if for no other reason than there is actually a contest on the Democratic side of the fence.

For one, I predict about a 410K turnout for Election Day, driven mostly by energized Democrats looking to make a statement against the Trump administration.  Republican turnout will be perhaps a third of that — dangerous territory if one is looking to show that Stewart’s gaggle of supporters does not constitute a full fifth of the Virginia Republican electorate, but a smarter play as Gillespie is shepherding resources to take on the eventual Democratic nominee.