Gingrich vs. Romney: Whose website got the most hits?
Does the number of people who click on a political candidate's website have any correlation to how many votes he or she receives?
On Tuesday night, we might find out.
Experian Hitwise, an online measurement company, has released some data on how many people have visited Mitt Romney's website versus how many people have visited Newt Gingrich's website in the last four weeks.
The results are mixed.
In Florida, Romney is the clear winner (online). Over the last three weeks, his website got 39.5% of traffic to the four remaining Republican presidential candidates' websites from Florida users. Gingrich came in second with 26.53%. Rick Santorum's site got 19.20% of the traffic, and Ron Paul got 14.75%.
But outside of Florida, the top two positions were reversed. Experian reports that last week in the U.S. overall, Gingrich's site got 35.74% of the hits, while Romney's site received just 29.31%. Then came Ron Paul, who got 20.48%, and finally Rick Santorum with 14.47%.
And add this to the mix: Up until mid-January, Gingrich was clearly leading in online hits from Floridians. It wasn't until the week of Jan. 15 that Romney started to take the lead.
Matt Tatham, a spokesman for Expedia Hitwise, said that online visits do not necessarily translate to offline votes. "You never know what people are going to visit on," he said. "The Romney traffic could just be due to him being in the news more than the others."
He added that most of the Romney searches in the last week have centered on his tax returns and his net worth.
"Sometimes Internet users just search on people -- they want to know their background, find out what the family is like, see what the life looks like. But having said all of that, maybe it will translate to votes. You never know. You could argue both sides."
As for whether Gingrich should be heartened by his website's nationwide online hit lead over Romney, Tatham didn't think so. "If you are them, you are only worried about one state," he said.
Photo: Newt Gingrich supporter Mary Gaulden listens to the Republican presidential candidate speak at a campaign rally Monday in Tampa, Fla. Credit: Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA