Volume 13, Number 2

Monitoring of the Last US Presidential Elections


Christoph Glauser1, Jacques Savoy2 and Loris Schmid1,2, 1IFAAR Institute, Switzerland, 2University of Neuchatel, Switzerland


This paper presents the results of a new monitoring project of the US presidential elections with the aim of establishing computer-based tools to track in real time the popularity or awareness of candidates. The designed and developed innovative methods allow us to extract the frequency of queries sent to numerous search engines by US Internet users. Based on these data, this paper demonstrates that Trump was more frequently searched than the Democratic candidates, either Hillary Clinton in 2016 or Joe Biden in 2020. When analyzing the topics, it is observed that in 2020 the US users had shown a remarkable interest in two subjects, namely, Coronavirus and Jobs (unemployment). Interest for other topics such as Education or Healthcare were less pronounced while issues such as Immigration were given even less attention by users. Finally, some “flame” topics such as Black Lives Matter (2020) and Gun Control (2016) appear to be very popular for a few weeks before returning to a low level of interest. When analyzing tweets sent by candidates during the 2020 campaign, one can observe that Trump was focused mainly on Jobs and on Riots, announcing what would happen if Democrats took power. To these negative ads, Biden answered by putting forward moral values (e.g., love, honesty) and political symbols (e.g., democracy, rights) and by underlying the failure of the current administration in resolving the pandemic situation.


E-government, Online searches, Search engines, Discourse analysis, Political science.