Could Google predict the 2012 US election result?


Traditional polling methods aren't all they're cracked up to be, writes Seth Stephens-Davidovitz in the New York Times. Why? Because people are reluctant to admit that they won't vote.

But Stephens-Davidovitz has a solution: "My research suggests that by comparing Google search rates for voting information so far this year with search rates on comparable dates from previous elections, we might already be able to get a pretty good idea of the composition of the 2012 electorate."

Thanks to Google, that non-judgemental receptacle for all our most unacceptable secrets, we know that people search "Paul Ryan shirtless 9 times more often than "Paul Ryan budget" and that "on election day in 2008, roughly 1 in 100 searches that included 'Obama' also included 'KKK' or 'nigger'."