What does Top Chef have in common with the 2012 presidential election?

Screen Shot 2012-12-13 at 10.52.11 PM

Although it has existed for some time, I started playing around with Google Trends today and discovered some very useful tools. One is called Correlate, and it allows users to enter time-series or state-level data and then query Google’s aggregated search history.

Just for fun, I entered Obama’s 2012 popular vote percentages by state and then queried the database. The term whose search frequency is the most strongly correlated with Obama’s state-level voting percentages (as measured by the Pearson correlation coefficient) is…”top chef,” with a coefficient (r) of 0.8702. As you can see above, on the left is a map of Obama’s voting percentages by state (greener means a higher percentage of people in that state voted for him in the 2012 presidential election), and on the right is a map showing state-level frequencies of the search term “top chef.” They’re really quite similar.

And here are the rest of the top 10, with their corresponding r-values:

2. december 24 (0.8642)

3. july 18 (0.8593)

4. alia (0.8569)

5. december 18 (0.8547)

6. slum (0.8545)

7. lede (0.8495)

8. august 20 (0.8462)

9. july 11 (0.8418)

10. july 22 (0.8414)

In other news, procrastination from final exams is a very real phenomenon.


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