Monday was the day that American political junkies have been waiting for. Finally, people would find out whether Donald Trump had the votes to match his confidence and who would be the victor in the first test between fierce Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
Meanwhile, those who were following the presidential race less closely used the Iowa caucuses as a chance to brush up on some basics.
According to Google Trends for the Iowa Republican Caucus and the Iowa Democratic Caucus, a variety of questions were posed about each party’s candidates on Monday, ranging from the obvious to the head-scratching.
The most nonsensical query was about Trump, who came out in an unexpected second place behind Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and just ahead of Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. His third top trending question among Iowa Google users was: “Why is Donald Trump so orange?”
While earlier in the race more attention was drawn to Trump’s hair and its much-debated authenticity, his skin tone began inciting discussion during the last presidential debate that he attended. On Jan. 14, the “orange” question was also a top trending search related to Trump.
Users on the question-and-answer platform Quora have grappled with this mystery but reached no definite conclusions. “There is widespread opinion that he either uses tanning beds or a full-body spray to get his bright tangerine finish,” a Lee Ballentine proposed on Quora.
The Washington Post’s Philip Bump has quipped that the culprit is “probably carrots.” During a debate in Britain’s Parliament last month about whether to ban Trump from the country, one politician dubbed him “the orange prince of American self-publicity.”
Moving on to former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the political scion has worked hard to distinguish himself as a formidable candidate independent of being the brother and son of former presidents, but this strategy appears to have largely failed in Iowa, where four of the top five Google searches with his name were about his family.
Iowans wondered: “Is Jeb Bush related to George W. Bush?” “Who are Jeb Bush’s parents?” “Who is Jeb Bush’s father?” and “Is Jeb Bush George Bush’s brother?”
Bush’s top trending question was “What does Jeb Bush stand for?” which may be the most concerning query of all for the candidate who finished sixth in Iowa.
Cruz came out the winner among Republican candidates on Monday, but one of his Google search trends touched upon a lingering hesitation among voters. The fifth most-searched question about Cruz was “Is Ted Cruz from Canada?” evoking the debate over whether the senator is eligible to be president if he was born in Calgary, Canada.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s top Google question in Iowa, “Is Huckabee still running for President?” proved sadly prescient. He suspended his campaign late Monday evening.
On the Democrat side, the questions were mostly general, with Google searchers wondering about all the candidates’ ages. Most perplexingly — or perhaps not perplexing at all, depending on your view of Sanders’s supporters — the top trending question for the U.S. senator from Vermont was “Is Bernie Sanders vegan?” (As far as we know, Ben Carson is the only openly vegetarian candidate.)
As of early Tuesday morning, the caucuses had effectively yielded a draw between Sanders and Clinton, an indicator of what could be a long battle between them for the Democratic nomination.
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