Political Insights: Exploring partisanship in Web search queries

Erik Borra, Ingmar Weber


We developed Political Insights, an online searchable database of politically charged 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.


political search, query log, political blogs, partisanship, search engine, social science, measuring collective preferences, public attention, digital methods

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v17i7.4070

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