Recently our two papers on partisanship in Web search queries were published:
E. Borra & I. Weber (2012). Political insights: exploring partisanship in Web search queries. First Monday, 17(7).
We developed Political Insights, an online searchable database of politically cha rged queries, which allows you to obtain topical insights into partisan concern. In this paper we demonstrate how you can discover such political queries and how to lay bare which issues are most salient to political audiences. We employ anonymized search engine queries resulting in a click on U.S. political blogs to calculate the probability that a query will land on blogs of a particular leaning. We are thus able to ‘charge’ queries politically and to group them along opposing partisan lines. Finally, by comparing the zip codes of users submitting these queries with election results, we find that the leaning of blogs people read correlates well with their likely voting behavior.
Tool online at: http://politicalinsights.sandbox.yahoo.com (This tool uses static data surrounding the 2010 US midterm election. The tool accompanying our second paper uses current data and shows weekly search trends.)
I. Weber, V.R.K. Garimella & E.K. Borra (2012). Mining Web Query Logs to Analyze Political Issues. In Proceedings of the WebSci12.
We present a novel approach to using anonymized web search query logs to analyze and visualize political issues. Our starting point is a list of politically annotated blogs (left vs. right). We use this list to assign a numerical political leaning to queries leading to clicks on these blogs. Furthermore, we map queries to Wikipedia articles and to fact-checked statements from politifact.com, as well as applying sentiment analysis to search results. With this rich, multi-faceted data set we obtain novel graphical visualizations of issues and discover connections between the different variables. Our findings include (i) an interest in “the other side” where queries about Democrat politicians have a right leaning and vice versa, (ii) evidence that “lies are catchy” and that queries pertaining to false statements are more likely to attract large volumes, and (iii) the observation that the more right-leaning a query it is, the more negative sentiments can be found in its search results.
Tool online at: http://politicalsearchtrends.sandbox.yahoo.com
Earlier I also blogged about the methods for exploring partisan search queries.