Relevance & Research Question:
Political polls are at the same time questionable and irreplaceable. Elections after elections they show their limits but no other method has yet been proven to be more accurate or reliable.
In this paper, we would like to present the experiment we are conducting about the 2021 german federal elections whose objective is trying to improve opinion monitoring thanks to web navigation data. More precisely, our goal is to enrich insights and improve predictions about voting intention thanks to a combination of survey results and news consumption on the internet.
Methods & Data:
For now more than 5 years, respondi has been involved in combining survey data with passive data. In Germany we operate a nat rep panel (sample size obviously changes every month, as we have to deal with churn, cleansing operation, but we keep it close to n=2500 over time. Panel size is currently n=2541) whose members have accepted to equip (at least) one connected device of theirs with a software which monitors (among other things) which website they visit.
The design of the experiment is the following: we survey these people about their voting intention every week (we plan to conduct 8 waves of interrogation, each of them collecting around 350 completes), and in the mean time we collect all the news (related to the elections or not) they read online (based on our previous observations, we collect around 30k articles per month in Germany).
News articles are classified and summarized using a deep learning language model based on Google’s BERT and fine-tuned for topic detection. We will thus be able to identify patterns of news consumption which are associated with changes in opinion.
Displayed on a live dashboard powered by Tableau.
Obviously no results are available yet. Our intention is to associate change in opinion with the content read : which message did trigger a change in opinion for which audience ?
Ultimately, if this experiment works, it leads to a new type of election monitoring: real time measurement of change in opinion, and granular explanations of the changes.