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Can Google Predict Election Winners?

A recent article in the New York Times which showed how Google search results can track the spread of the flu as well and sometimes ahead of the CDCs monitoring program got me to wondering if Google searches also show us who will win Presidential elections. The quick answer appears to be yes.

In the below graph for Obama v. McCain searches, Obama was leading McCain in the final month of the campaign and opened a larger lead in the run up to election day (the highest peak in this normalized chart is actually on Nov. 5, the day after the election.)

It is also interesting to note where the searches were most prevalent. In most of battleground and toss up states you often see the highest search volume, including Ohio, Florida, Colorado and North Carolina. Even though voters in those states were drenched in advertising and door to door canvasing, they were still searching the Net for more information on the candidates.

And Google also predicted the Bush win over Kerry in 2004, as shown below.

Perhaps Nate Silver should add this into his predictions in 2012.

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One Response to “Can Google Predict Election Winners?”

  1. Sean Says:

    Google are good, but they ain’t that good.