Google gets into political polling as presidential campaign heats up

If a political candidate wants to know how much support she has in a particular region, she can’t just Google it. Or can she?

Sort of.

As the presidential campaign grows ever more dramatic, Google has entered the political polling business. The tech behemoth has broadened the reach of Google Consumer Surveys, and is now selling a polling product aimed at candidates and journalists, politics website The Hill reported. “At least one presidential campaign found Google’s pitch attractive enough to put a poll in the field using the tool,” according to the website.

Google’s custom-designed consumer surveys start at $2,000, according to promotional materials.

The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have used Google’s political polling services, The Hill reported. A product marketing manager for Google Consumer Surveys told the website the polling service was “a really great and innovative tool for journalists” with “great branding impacts” for Google.

The polling collects data via survey boxes that pop up before a news article can be read, and through Google’s Android operating system when users receive credits to the Google Play app store for answering polling questions, according to The Hill. Polling results, therefore, cover only what Google described as “the Internet population.”

Google said it could deduce a person’s age and gender through browsing history, using technology similar to what it uses for targeting advertisements, and can identify a person’s location from their IP address, the website reported. Users of the mobile app answer demographic questions, according to The Hill.

Polls can be completed within 12 to 15 hours, a Google representative told The Hill.

 

Photo:   Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, accompanied by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, in March 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) 

 

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