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In addressing the challenge of Big Data Analytics, what has been of notable significance is the analysis of online search traffic data in order to analyze and predict human behavior. Over the last decade, since the establishment of the most popular such tool, Google Trends, the use of online data has been proven valuable in various research fields, including -but not limited to- medicine, economics, politics, the environment, and behavior. In the field of politics, given the inability of poll agencies to always well approximate voting intentions and results over the past years, what is imperative is to find new methods of predicting elections and referendum outcomes. This paper aims at presenting a methodology of predicting referendum results using Google Trends; a method applied and verified in six separate occasions: the 2014 Scottish Referendum, the 2015 Greek Referendum, the 2016 UK Referendum, the 2016 Hungarian Referendum, the 2016 Italian Referendum, and the 2017 Turkish Referendum. Said referendums were of importance for the respective country and the EU as well, and received wide international attention. Google Trends has been empirically verified to be a tool that can accurately measure behavioral changes as it takes into account the users’ revealed and not the stated preferences. Thus we argue that, in the time of intelligence excess, Google Trends can well address the analysis of social changes that the internet brings.
Mavragani, A., & Tsagarakis, K. P. (2019). Predicting referendum results in the Big Data Era. Journal of Big Data, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40537-018-0166-z