Searching the Primaries
Searching the Primaries is a data visualization that visualizes the correlation between 2016 primary election results and Google search trends for each candidate.
What if searching for presidential candidates on Google became a new method of voting? Searching the Primaries is a data visualization exploring the relationship between Google search trends for five of the 2016 presidential candidates and actual election results from the 2016 presidential primary elections and caucuses.
How it Works
Searching the Primaries is a data visualization exploring the relationship between Google search trends for the remaining 2016 presidential candidates and actual results from the 2016 presidential primary elections and caucuses.
Search results of winning candidates increased after each election
After comparing the two datasets, we found that after every single primary election, there was an increase in googling of the primary candidates, with the winning candidate typically getting the greatest increase in google searches and this went against what we had expected. We had anticipated that voters would want to research the candidates before elections and that there would be an increase in google searches leading up to each election. However, it seems that voters actually end up googling candidates after each primary election.
Google search influences the way we vote
Rosalind and I began by doing some research on Google’s influence on the way we vote. Researchers Robert Epstein and Ronald E. Robertson suggest that Google search is already influencing the outcomes of elections in a recent journal article. This phenomenon is called “Search Engine Manipulation Effect” or SEME. A recent article about SEME explains that “Google’s search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more—up to 80 percent in some demographic groups—with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated.”