Google Trends is 3-0 in picking white house elections...and other interesting uses of Google Trends
Google Trends is 3-0 in calling presidential elections
1. Search from 2004-present for the candidates last names: bush, kerry, obama, mccain, and romney.
2. The winner got more searches than the loser.
In fact, the loser never was a more popular search search term at any point in the general election.
Another interesting point is that 2004 and 2012 were close elections. Neither Bush nor Obama came out of that election with a mandate to govern. And when you look at the searches for those two elections, the candidates were relatively close. 2008 was a blowout Obama win, and the searches for him were WAY beyond anything McCain got, and Obama circa 2008 was WAY above anything Obama circa 2012 or Bush got. So perhaps the degree of separation clues us in on the margin of victory.
Let's try it with the words "republicans" and "democrats"
This one is a bit more tricky. First, we have to define the election results.
2004: republican narrow win - republicans reclaim senate
2006: democrat blowout win - democrats take both houses of congress
2008: democrat blowout win - democrats take white house
2010: republican blowout win - republicans erase 2006 blowout and take the house
2012: tie - gridlock - no changes
2012 I would consider a draw, since Obama won a very narrow victory, the republicans continue to hold the House, and it was the first time nothing changed hands since 1998. Of course democrats will try to spin the election as a crushing victory for the democrats, but that's not what occurred when comparing the results to everything else.
If we look at the two years the democrats had clear blowout wins, they also happen to be the two years the searches for "democrat" essentially doubled searches for "republican". In the other 3 elections, searches for "republican" either closed that gap or led outright.
Other interesting aspects of this election:
1. There is a CLEAR line of demarcation at the elections in November of 2010. Before that event, searches for "democrat" led. After that event, searches for "republican" led. Even with Obama scoring a narrow victory in 2012, this held true. Perhaps this is due to the gridlock nature of the 2012 election.
2. Searches for "democrat" and "republican" have trending DOWN from 2004-present. There were significantly more searches during the 2004 elections than at the 2006 elections. There were more in 2006 than 2008. There were more in 2008 than 2010. And it looks like the 2012 peak was smaller than 2010.
How about the economy?
I was thinking of ways people would express their satisfaction level with the economy. One I came up with was searches for "coupon" and "sale".
There is a clear line of demarcation for the term "sale" at the 2008 credit crisis. Prior to that event, searches were falling for years. After that event, searches began an uptrend. The most recent peak was July 2012. This may be evidence that the personal economy for many people is in fact continuing to deteriorate, as unemployment falls mostly because the statistics keepers consider people as "dropping out of the workforce".
Searches for the term "coupon" were on a very slight rise, or almost flat, prior to the 2008 credit crisis. After that event, it clearly started marching higher, with the most recent peak at December 2011.
Another interesting search pairing I found was "saving" vs "unemployment".
The term "saving" was performing well until unemployment soared in the months after the 2008 credit crisis. After unemployment skyrocketed, searches for "saving" have fallen off. A search score of 22 for December 2012 is the lowest its ever been on this chart. Searches for "unemployment" have come down from its highs, but are still very elevated compared to pre-2008 credit crisis levels, and are in fact RISING.
"money" vs "unemployment"
Searches for "money" were rising for years, peak at the 2008 Credit Crisis, and have been declining since. December 2012 is a new low for that term. Perhaps a sign that the economy turns around will be when interest increases in searching for "money" again.
"marriage" vs "divorce"
This is really interesting. Searches for "divorce" seem at a constant level. But searches for "marriage" were dropping for years prior to unemployment taking off. Once unemployment rose dramatically, searches for "marriage" also began to climb. Perhaps this means when people know the economy is bad, they look for stability in their love life moreso than when the economy is good.
I did a search for NFL, MLB, NBA, and MLS (major league soccer)
1. The NFL and NBA are both clearly growing and are essentially tied in searches.
2. MLB is growing, but VERY slightly.
3. MLS is declining.
"future" vs "past"
Both seem stable. Searches for "future" peak at the end/start of a calendar year. I suppose people prefer to think ahead to what's coming in that moment. Searches for "past" reliably peak in a very odd place - May. After thinking about it, perhaps that is due to the end of the school year being in May. That's students thinking back to the grade they just completed.
"robot" vs "drone"
Searches for "drone" are steadily climbing. Searches for "robot" seem listless.