Canada Google predicted the 2015 election. Here’s what it says about election 2019.
A by-the-numbers look at the federal election campaign, and voting day
OTTAWA — After a campaign that started on Sept. 11, voters head to the polls Monday to mark their ballots in Canada's 43rd general election. Here are some numbers to capture the scope of the campaign: 338: Number of federal ridings 170: Seats needed for a majority government. 177: Seats Liberals held at dissolution. 95: Seats Conservatives held at dissolution. 39: Seats the New Democratic Party held at dissolution. 10: Seats the Bloc Quebecois338: Number of federal ridings
If Google searches in Canada for the federal leaders are any indication of how Canadians will vote, Justin Trudeau will save his political career with a minority win today, but he will be forced to contend with an unprecedentedly-powerful NDP.
Let me back up for one second.
On election day in 2015 I played a little experiment with Google Trends, the search engine giant’s tool for tracking what Internet users are hunting for online. I’d earlier written on the question of whether Google couldthe outcome of the election than pollsters:
Laval Police say people are calling 911 to get information about where to vote
The force tweeted the information Monday afternoon, urging people to visit Elections Canada's website instead.The force urged people to visit Elections Canada's website instead.
The question of whether Internet searches can predict election outcomes is one of great debate, for obvious reasons. Big Data, the term given to the vast quantity of information now available, thanks to our hyper-connected lives, has shown to be highly useful in discerning consumer habits and trends. The possibility exists that data generated through the social web could be far more indicative of our voting inclination than what we tell pollsters we intend to do. Given the many high-profile failures by pollsters in recent elections, this would be an important tool for election forecasting.
From the search interest in the leaders that year Ion election day. As it would turn out, search interest closely mirrored the final results, at least for the main parties.
8% of voters say they cast ballot for first time this election: Ipsos
As Canadians continue to cast their ballots in Monday's federal election, early exit polling numbers released by Ipsos suggests that for eight per cent of voters, it was their first time. According to exit polling conducted by Ipsos exclusively for Global News, of 4,768 voters surveyed ahead of polls closing on Monday, eight per cent of respondents said this was the first time they had ever voted in a federal election. Conversely, 91 per cent said it was not the first time they had cast a ballot.One per cent of respondents said they were not sure if this was their first time.
|2015 Election||Google Trends extrapolation||Final 2015 seat count|
Since then researches and journalists haveof whether our Internet searches say more about how we will vote than what we tell pollsters.
So in the spirit of curiosity the 2019 federal election offers another opportunity to put Google’s Trends tool to the test.
(Since this is election day and Elections Canada can be finicky about such things, let’s get one thing out of the way first: this should not in any way be considered a scientific poll or opinion survey, which Elections Canada restricts on polling day.)
Seat projections based on Google search interest
Based on search interest in the federal leaders as of Oct. 18, here is what the seat count would look like. (Google search interest is displayed on a rolling three-day delay. Data captured at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 21.)
These 10 ridings saw the highest advance voting turnout in B.C.
In B.C., 689,690 British Columbians cast an early ballot this year, up 31.3 per cent from 2015. But that boost wasn't universal across the province: some districts saw a surge in turnout, while one actually saw fewer early voters.READ MORE: Live Canada election results 2019: Real-time results in the federal election These are the 10 B.C. ridings that saw the highest advance vote turnout in 2019.Vancouver Island led advance turnout, including four of the five top ridings for early voting.
|2019 election||Google Trends extrapolation|
While the Liberal seat count of 143 fits generally with what polls are saying, the idea that the NDP could tie the Conservatives seems outlandish. By comparison, here are seat projections from bothand CBC’s :
With millennials now accounting for the largest demographic voting block in Canada, could Jagmeet Singh have harnessed the same enthusiasm among young voters that catapulted Justin Trudeau to a significant majority in 2015? Or do these results simply reflect the fact that Internet users skew younger, and for all Singh’s success on, that may not necessarily translate into turnout at the polls?
Whatever the case, the surge in Singh’s popularity detected by polls over the past two weeks is also visible in Google search interest.
There is one big difference between this Google Trends extrapolation and the one in 2015. Back then the period I looked at was 90 days. But Trudeau’s blackface blew up on search. (On the Google Trends index, 100 represents the peak of search activity for all the topics being tracked.) I set the start date for this analysis at Sept. 27, by which point searches for the leaders had more or less returned to where they were pre-blackface scandal.
‘This is the first step’: Scheer delivers concession speech, praises Tory election performance
Scheer said he has called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to congratulate him on his victory. However, Scheer also reacted to the Liberals' loss of a majority government, suggesting it indicates Trudeau's time as prime minister may not last long."Mr. Trudeau, when your government falls, Conservatives will be ready and we will win," he said. READ MORE: Live Canada election results 2019: Real-time results in the federal election Scheer also boasted that the party is leading the popular vote over the Liberals."This is how it starts," he said. "This is the first step.
You’ll notice Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet is not among the leaders. That’s because Google Trends restricts users to five topics. Even when Blanchet is substituted in for People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier, however, his party’s climb in the polls doesn’t show up in higher search interest.
We can also learn a lot about what caught Canadians attention over the past month by looking at what people searched for in relation to each leader. What we see is that Singh stands apart from Trudeau and Scheer in setting his own agenda. While the so-called “breakout” related searches for Trudeau and Scheer reflect controversies or fake news that hit both leaders during the campaign, that’s not the case for Singh.
|Jagmeet Singh instagram|
|Jagmeet Singh cheveux (French for hair)|
|What religion is Jagmeet Singh|
|Jagmeet Singh without turban on|
|Andrew Scheer dual citizenship|
|Scheer insurance broker|
|Andrew Scheer insurance broker|
|Andrew Scheer work history|
|Andrew Scheer university degree|
|Trudeau 17 year old|
|Trudeau fired from school|
|Buffalo Chronicle Trudeau|
The related searches for Trudeau are particularly disturbing and speak to the impact ain the middle of the campaign may have had on the prime minister’s re-election bid, not to mention the obvious influence of the Buffalo Chronicle on this election—the dubious New York-based website has repeatedly published stories about Trudeau that have nevertheless been shared by many on the right.
Was Google’s accurate prediction of the 2015 election just a fluke? Or are we in for a big surprise in this election. We’ll know soon.
His victory speech barely over, Trudeau hits the métro for selfies, handshakes .
Continuing a practice begun four years ago when his Liberal Party formed a majority government, Prime minister Justin Trudeau returned to the Jarry métro Tuesday morning to thank constituents for their support. Though he had been giving a victory speech in downtown Montreal just a few hours before — after a vote that was finally counted well after midnight — the smiling Trudeau seemed energetic as he stood by the subway station escalator to shake hands and take selfies with early morning commuters. Métro riders were delighted to see him. “I am so happy you won,” one man said.
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