Although social media has become more prominent than ever before in politics -- in the United States as well as in Canada (where we just had our first "social networking election").
Even so, reliable information about what these trends may mean for politics has been difficult to comeby -- at least until now.
Experian Hitwise has begun to track and analyze website hits in the Republican primary election, and has already uncovered some truly astonishing trends.
For example, Hitwise was able to determine that Donald Trump's announcement that he was dropping out of the race for the GOP nomination closely followed a 49% drop in internet traffic to his Facebook page.
Hitwise Media Director Matt Tatham has implicitly speculated that the public release of President Barack Obama's birth certificate -- the inconceivable preoccupation of Trump's Presidential aspirations -- may have helped mercifully put the final nails in his political coffin.
Other data offered by Hitwise is equally intriguing.
the "Evangelical bump" former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty could have expected has yet to materialize.
If one were to measure according to website hints, it seems that former Speaker of the House and Contract With America innovator Newt Gingrich is getting the most attention. He leads the race for website hits with more than a 65% share. His closest competitor was former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, who held just over 22%.
But it would be a mistake to count Cain out just yet. Hits on Cain's website grew fastest, by an astonishing 35%.
Pawlenty, meanwhile, is holding at a paltry 3%.
Then again, it's still fairly early in the Republican primary, with still more than a year to go.
Though the hour hasn't necessarily grown late, there are clear advantages that come with this early traffic, considering that website traffic helped Ron Paul raise $1 million through his political action committee in just 24 hours, it would be tough to underestimate the importance of this traffic.
If Hitwise's figures are an accurate portrayal of how internet traffic is flowing, the race right now is between Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain. Although Gingrich has a comfortable lead in this regard, Cain could close the gap quickly.