The most interesting presidential campaign in modern history also showed that domain names do matter in an election. With our pocket calculator, a WHOIS tool, and some election math, we assessed how use of domains would have contributed to a Hillary Clinton victory – in any country other than the U.S.
2016 Presidential Election Math: The Latest “Base” Numbers
Many pundits are comparing the 2016 election to the 2000 election, when George W. Bush won a majority of the states and took the electorate, but lost the popular vote. This year, Donald Trump came out on top, winning 56.88% of the electoral votes (306 over 232). Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 2.1% in the popular vote (a 2,864,978 difference). [Updated Dec. 16, 2016]
Separate Web Assets Added to Exposure and Sales
While this election took tech points from 2008 and 2012, one of the things that made 2016 different from previous elections was the varied use of domain names.
In the past, each candidate had a web site maintained by their campaign and a slew of complementary unofficial sites ran by supporters. New this time around, Trump procured independent domains for unprecedented offensive web attacks on Clinton. As the Clinton campaign almost negotiated itself a domain name for an unconventional web site.
The owner of TheShop.com reportedly engaged in talks with Clinton’s team. Ultimately, they passed on the pricey domain in lieu of a subdomain (shop.hillaryclinton.com), where the outlet was still called TheShop. Establishing a separate domain name to sell campaign merchandise would have been a shrewd move. Even specially marketing TheShop entity was something we had not seen.
Historically, most people navigate through a political website very quickly and oftentimes will not go to its store. Having a Clinton swag storefront away from campaign talking points gave the merchandise more visibility and Hillary for America additional revenue. On the other side, Trump sold limited gear (mostly hats) as part of the main campaign web site.
Calculating.. Election Math (I was told there would be no math!)
During the 2016 election, we all saw rallies with thousands of people in attendance. You may have even attended a few. But with a population of about 330 million, America’s contact with the candidates came mostly by internet or other media. For the purposes of this analysis, we are focusing on the internet component. Specifically, how the count of domains a campaign used related to their total votes (the domain must have been utilized as a web site’s primary URL).
Including supporters and PACs, social media sites, and campaign-run operations, Donald Trump utilized 6 domain names and Hillary Clinton 10. If we divide the votes cast by the number of domain names, each of Clinton’s domains accounted for 4.8% of her 48% of the popular vote. Trump’s 6 domains each brought in 7.8% of his 47%. What does this tell us?
Having 40% more domain coverage than Trump earned Clinton over 200,000 more votes. Every country of the modernized world but the United States elects based on popular vote. If the U.S. were updated, Secretary Clinton would be the next President and domain names could take a bow. However, the December electoral college vote forecast names President-elect Donald J. Trump with a January inauguration.
How Social Media Helped Elect Marco Rubio
Percentage of vote divided by the number of domains used shows more web coverage means more actual votes. But can that be true for social media in politics? Recently reelected Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) and contender Patrick Murphy (D) would say so. Each maintained their own campaign web site and a profile on a number of social media sites. Rubio won the election with 52% of the vote. He made use of 3 more social media accounts than his counterpart and netted 8% more of the vote.