The data mavens over at FiveThirtyEight.com took a look at the presidential nomination races as measured by Facebook likes.
As you can see from the map above, North Dakota is Donald Trump/Ben Carson territory with a smattering of Bernie Sanders love in the urban areas (Grand Forks and Cass Counties) as well as counties encompassed by two of the state’s Indian Reservations (Turtle Mountain and Standing Rock).
Overall Trump got 28 percent of the “likes” in North Dakota, which is five points better than his national average. Carson got the same percentage, though he performed only two points better than his national average. Bernie Sanders got 18 percent, which is four points worse than his national average.
After Sanders comes Cruz (12 percent) and Rubio (7 percent), which are both about the same level of support as their national “likes”, and then Hillary Clinton at 6 percent, two points under her national average.
The fact that Clinton is so far down the list is interesting. Not because I expected her to be popular in North Dakota – ours is a deeply Republican state – but because she’s Heidi Heitkamp’s candidate and Bernie Sanders seems to be a lot more popular.
But, again, we’re talking about an analysis of Facebook likes, so who knows. One thing to keep in mind is that “likes” aren’t going to shift that much as candidates drop out of the race. Not many people are likely to go “unlike” candidates as the drop out.
Yet given how weird this election cycle has been so far this is probably about as relevant as any other measure of public opinion.
Backing up the idea that North Dakota is for Trump, though, is this Tweet from Rep. Kevin Cramer who has been running his own presidential straw poll for the Republican race since his state party isn’t doing one. According to Cramer, Trump is in the lead in his poll, though he apparently has Cruz/Rubio before Carson:
UPDATE: Trump is leading the ND Straw Poll with Cruz & Rubio in pursuit. Have you voted? Make your voice heard >> https://t.co/FXhykMkreT
— Kevin Cramer (@kevincramer) February 12, 2016
If you care you can grab the methodology about how all this was done over at FiveThirtyEight.