The authors shall share all data and coding for replication purposes. The authors would like to thank Curtis Ellis, as well as the editors and reviewers, for their thoughtful suggestions.
Google Insights and U.S. Senate Elections: Does Search Traffic Provide a Valid Measure of Public Attention to Political Candidates?†
Article first published online: 20 JAN 2014
© 2014 by the Southwestern Social Science Association
Social Science Quarterly
Volume 95, Issue 3, pages 882–893, September 2014
How to Cite
Swearingen, C. D. and Ripberger, J. T. (2014), Google Insights and U.S. Senate Elections: Does Search Traffic Provide a Valid Measure of Public Attention to Political Candidates?. Social Science Quarterly, 95: 882–893. doi: 10.1111/ssqu.12075
- Issue published online: 10 JUL 2014
- Article first published online: 20 JAN 2014
To propose a new indicator of public attention to electoral candidates based on the relative pattern of Internet queries for opposing candidates.
To demonstrate the validity of this measure, we use ordinary least squares regression and an F-ratio test.
We find that this measure, based on Google Insights data, behaves in a manner consistent with a valid measure of public attention. Moreover, this finding holds when the measure is included in a standard model used to explain U.S. Senate election outcomes.
The Google Insights measure of relative public attention shows the shifts in public attention as the campaign is waged and is consistent with how we would expect to see such a measure behave. This research opens numerous avenues for research in the campaigns and elections subfield.