A recent report from Glasgow has economists wondering if current Google search data holds an inkling of what’s to come in upcoming elections

Google’s search data is a valuable vault for information regarding search trends, current events, predictions for the future and more.

Economists from Glasgow analyzed live data on Google for Alex Salmond and other polling figures, helping researchers predict that the yes vote would reach 45% about five days before the results. Glasgow University professor Ron MacDonald reports that they were able to track the rise of “yes” votes with several complex methods regularly established by financial markets.

Google Search Data May Predict Upcoming Election Results

Studies can prove to be valuable

This study could be a great thing for political strategists who are looking for new ways to reach out to voters. MacDonald believes the methodology can be used to predict election results. There are more predictions for the upcoming May elections. It could prove as a handy tool, but it favors pollsters. It would be best to use it during election day.

According to MacDonald, the election is different and often more complicated.

Predictions don’t always affect outcomes

Nearly three years ago, one Forbes contributor reported a similar study during the last 2012 Presidential elections. Reuven Cohen noted his first step in his personal study was to compare web searches for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. He kept his research limited to the past 30 days for a more accurate look. What was most surprising about his study was that Romney lead Obama in terms of search numbers. The next part of his study involved finding which state preferred which candidate. Romney took the lead in Utah, Idaho, and New Hampshire. Obama favored in Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, and Illinois. His results appeared to show Romney has a lead over Obama but in the end, Obama won his second term.

Cohen compared those results to previous results from the election in France where Hollande trumped Sarkozy. He compared the 90 days leading up to the election where Hollande was clearly winning in popularity.

Making election predictions using internet searches sometimes prove successful, but other times the predictions are wrong.