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Predicting the Irish "Gay Marriage" Referendum


  • Askitas, Nikos

    () (IZA)


On February 20 2015 Irish Premier Enda Kenny confirmed that a "yes-no" referendum on same sex marriage would be held on May 22 of the same year. A yes vote would legalise same sex marriage in Ireland. As the Irish premier put it, the vote was about "tolerance, respect and sensitivity". The electoral outcome turned out to be 62.07% for the yes vote with voter turnout at 60.52% of the registered voters. Ireland thus became the first country in the world to legalise same sex marriage through a popular vote. Using hourly Google Search data one week prior to the Irish Referendum of May 22 2015 and a simple ratio of "vote yes" to "vote no" searches I demonstrate how the outcome could have been predicted on the nose. The method is used here successfully for the second time and is so far as I know the only one which forecasts popular vote with Google Search.

Suggested Citation

  • Askitas, Nikos, 2015. "Predicting the Irish "Gay Marriage" Referendum," IZA Discussion Papers 9570, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9570

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    Cited by:

    1. Siliverstovs, Boriss & Wochner, Daniel S., 2018. "Google Trends and reality: Do the proportions match?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 1-23.

    More about this item


    referendum; predicting; Google Trends; Google Search; complexity; behaviour; data science; computational social science; complex systems;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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