News & Politics

Now Search Engines Are Predicting Election Results

I, for one, welcome our new robot polling overlords:

In March, Microsoft said it would use its Bing technology to predict the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. On Tuesday, Microsoft jumped in with both feet, calling the first four Republican primaries for Donald Trump.

Microsoft’s Bing predicts that Trump will win the Republican primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada relatively easily, topping Ted Cruz in all four states. Hillary Clinton is expected to win three out of the first four Democratic primaries—Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada—losing New Hampshire to Bernie Sanders.

Microsoft said it used data from polls, prediction markets, and anonymized and aggregated search-engine queries to predict its results—some of the methods that it’s used to predict the outcomes of everything from “American Idol” to the World Cup. It isn’t always right: Bing never predicted the Denver Broncos to play the New England Patriots in the NFL playoffs, let alone beat the New England Patriots—Bing’s erroneous pick to win the Super Bowl.

Okay, so whoops re the Patriots — who knew the Broncos pass rush would so discombobulate Tom Brady? But he — he got to go home to Gisele Bunchen, win or lose.

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As it has in the past, Microsoft will post the results on its Bing Elections site, where it tracks the candidates, upcoming events, its predictions, and the issues. Bing’s site breaks down each candidate by their position on the issues, how the candidate has fared on Twitter or Bing by number of queries, and, finally, provides a general biographical overview complete with funding numbers.

Check out the numbers at the link. Or check out Gisele in the photo above, which when you stop to think about it will probably be more entertaining.