With Iowa's first in the nation presidential nominating caucuses coming tomorrow, and New Hampshire's primaries following early next week, pundits and observers across the nation are closely watching the polls and prediction markets for early word on who might win. But these pundits might be ignoring a potentially important leading indicator of political opinion. We're talking, of course, about World of Warcraft character names.
As pointed out by blogger Andrew Sullivan, a full 48 realms in the popular online game have a player-characters named after Republican candidate Ron Paul (player names must be unique to a realm). The WoW naming support for Paul isn't that surprising given the recent in-game rally held in his honor in Whisperwind's IronForge. Paul runs well ahead of his closest competitor, Democrat Barack Obama, who shares a name with 36 WoW characters. No other candidate breaks the ten-character mark in a search of World of Warcraft info. resource The Armory.
While tracking WoW's presidential naming race is fun and all, it probably has very little actual value in predicting nationwide voting preferences. After all, there are 71 characters named Trogdor, and no one really expects him to burninate across the 2008 elections.
Read on for a complete list of WoW's presidential candidate name counts, as of press time.
(Thanks to WowInsider's Elizabeth Harper for help with this story)