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Analysing party preferences using google trends

: Seithe, M.; Calahorrano, Lena

Fulltext urn:nbn:de:0011-n-4390368 (506 KByte PDF)
MD5 Fingerprint: a58a9bad83bb88e0975ae4f7041e9f45
Created on: 6.4.2017

Sankt Augustin: Fraunhofer FIT, 2014, 26 pp.
CESifo Working Paper, 4631
Workshop on Political Economy <7, 2014, Dresden>
Report, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer FIT ()
voting behaviour; issue ownership; search volume; Google Trends

The formation of party preferences is a complex and not yet fully understood process based on a number of factors. This process, which is of great interest for both social and political science, is usually studied using questionnaire data which has proven to be a very reliable yet often costly and limited approach. Advances in technology and the rise of the internet as a primary information source for many people have created a new approach to keep track of peoples interests. The major gateways to the internets information are the so-called search engines, and Google, arguably the most commonly used search engine, allows scientists to tap the vast source of information generated by its users search queries. In this paper we describe how this data source can be used to estimate the effect of different issues on party preferences using German voters and the German party system as an example. We find that using data provided by Google Trends can lead to a variety of interesting and occasionally counterintuitive insights into peoples party preferences.