While Olivier was writing his post yesterday, I was also thinking about the Elections, polls and whether the Internet could provide hints on the candidates results, through its different channels.
I’ve always defended the idea that the web speaks the truth, thanks to the information boost of the participatory web (web 2.0). It is a living, constantly mutating common intelligence, it is the brain of the connected humanity and, for better and for worst, the weighted sum of our individual conscience, desires, fears, ambitions and beliefs.
So, if we have all this trustworthy information at our reach, than we are all able to analyze it and take our own conclusions. We can actually make our own polls by measuring our representative sources.
Google Trends (see the picture above), tells us that Barack Obama is the candidate with most search volume registered on Google, among U.S. users. The same analysis on Republican candidates shows us that Ron Paul is, by far, the Republican candidate that is on the Top-of-Mind of U.S. users. Strange, hum? This comes as a surprise for me as for you, because I expected McCain to lead this indicator. So, Barack Obama wins on Google Trends.
I tried to discover which candidates’ names where mentioned more often in web pages indexed in Google. That is to say, what was the share-of-exposure of each candidate. Here, Hillary Clinton is the winner, with 11.600.000 pages, followed by John McCain (7,580,000) and Ron Paul (4,780,000).
I also considered rerunning this analysis in Yahoo!, since Google normally indexes fewer pages than Yahoo! Here, share-of-exposure has a different winner: Barack Obama (158,000,000 pages), followed by Hillary Clinton (150,000,000) and John McCain (103,000,000).
YouTube gives us an idea of the share of audiovisual material each candidate has out there. The big winner here is Republican candidate Ron Paul (105.000 videos), followed by Democrats Hillary Clinton (33.200) and Barack Obama (32.500).
Facebook tells us how many friends/supporters each candidate has on this platform. Obama crushes the competition with a total of 374.650 friends, followed by Hillary Clinton (90.912) and Ron Paul (82.353).
On MySpace, Hillary Clinton is the winner with 41.123 friends, followed by Mitt Romney (37.077) and Mike Huckabee (34.717). John McCain, in my opinion made a big mistake in this platform. When you visit his page, you have a resume of this candidate and a link to become his friend. Only after he approves your friend request, you are able to see the regular MySpace sections… so I never got the chance to find out how many friends he has! Seems to me that Democrats understand the Internet and social networks better than Republicans.
Through Google BlogSearch, I found out that the Blogosphere produces much more content on Barack Obama than anyone else (3,211,145 posts), followed by Hillary Clinton (1,166,239) and John McCain (1,117,461). Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to make a qualitative analysis, so I don’t know if this is positive Buzz or negative Buzz…
Then I measured each of the candidates official websites’ Link Popularity, and I discovered that Ron Paul has the most websites linking to his (2,948,938 back-links), followed by Barack Obama (1,206,735) and Mike Huckabee (721,072).
Last but not least, I compared the estimated traffic of the candidates’ official websites through Alexa: Obama has the most traffic by far, followed by Hillary Clinton and John McCain.
So, I gathered all the data and here are the final results of my DIY polls for the future president of the USA:
- #1 – Hillary Clinton (1st in MySpace and Google, 2nd in Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo! and Blogosphere).
- #2 – Barack Obama (1st in Facebook, Yahoo! and the Blogosphere, 2nd in Link Popularity, 3rd in YouTube).
- #3 – John McCain (2nd in Google, 3rd in the Blogosphere and Yahoo!).
Ron Paul really intrigued me… I’d say he had better chances than McCain, since he was 1st on Link Popularity and YouTube, 3rd on Google and Facebook. Well, but Super Tuesday already proved me wrong, McCain’s the man for the Republicans.
Now I only have to wait a couple of months to see if my theory is right and if we all can start making our own polls based on my interpretation on the spirit of web 2.0: user participation leads to the strengthening and accuracy of collective consciousness.