by Stephanie Bedo, Griffith University, Australia
The future of election polling will be based on social media comments and data, according to a Griffith University researcher who correctly predicted Donald Trump as US President.
With much of the debate as to whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would win the election taking place online, people blogging, tweeting or updating social media with their thoughts on the topic provided data researchers with a rich source of information about what people were thinking and feeling about the election race.
Researchers from Australia’s Griffith University accurately predicted who would win 49 of the 50 states in the U.S. presidential election using social media comments and data. The researchers note the massive amount of information online concerning the election provided a rich source of data about what people were thinking and feeling about the election.
“My algorithms showed clearly to me that based on past patterns and sentiment in social media that [Donald] Trump, by Nov. 8, would take over the lead, despite only having a 10-percent chance to win according to all polls at that time,” says Griffith professor Bela Stantic, director of the Big Data and Smart Analytics lab within the university’s Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems.
The day before the election, Stantic correctly predicted Trump would win the swing states of Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, even though polls indicated Hillary Clinton was an 84-percent favorite.
Stantic says people are likely to be more honest when telling friends rather than answering polls. “It is scary how accurate prediction can be done by analyzing social media,” he notes. The researchers want to improve the predictive power of big data analytics by developing smarter and faster deep-learning algorithms to analyze large volumes of data drawn from diverse sources. Read the report.
DCL: There is on-going discussion as to why most of the Polls were wrong. Many believe it was a matter of untrustworthy data, i.e, garbage in, garbage out! So this may well be the way of the future.