Quite a few surveys and forecasts have failed in recent elections around the world and in Israel as well. Is it possible to skip the surveys and interpretations by scanning the Internet and other digital means to predict the election results? Arutz Sheva presented this question to digital strategist Itai Tzamir, consultant to companies and lecturer at Ono Academic College and Achva College.
"I don't propose one ignore the polls," says Tzamir, but adds that for those who find it difficult to contain themselves in a nerve-wracking wait until the various projections are published, he recommends examining trends according to the digital index and then when the projections are published to cross-check the data.
Tzamir notes that "in 2016 the only one who predicted Trump's victory was the digital projection." This was the case in the last elections in Israel when the trend reversal to favor Netanyahu was predicted by the digital indices.
When asked how a digital index is examined, Tzamir points out three main parameters - Google searches, social networking discourse, and Wikipedia searches: "A look at these three and similar places reveals trends."
As for Google searches, Tzamir agrees that sometimes it doesn't necessarily return positive search results for one intending to vote for a certain candidate, and sometimes the opposite is true, but in the age of mass messaging, searching the name of a candidate or party and their details indicates a prominent position, and this prominence indicates there are more chances for positive results at the end of the day.
"On Wikipedia they were looking for Feiglin more than Gantz, but Netanyahu surpasses them both." On the other hand, in the party index, the main search is for Benny Gantz's Blue and White, apparently to get to know the new party that seeks to rule, followed by Feiglin's Zehut, which is tagged as having depth and content, and only then the Likud, which is familiar to most of the public.
On the social networks, Tzamir notes that the discourse around Netanyahu is six times higher than Gantz, but that part of the issue is to take control of the discourse. Netanyahu is able to show at a level that's making record highs, while there are those who believe that this can reach a point of saturation."
Tzamir notes that at the end of the previous month, Netanyahu underwent a difficult week in terms of Google searches, but at the beginning of April things not only stabilized but there was a change in trend. As for the other parties, he notes that "Meretz and the Labor Party are like a see-saw, the more Gantz rises, the lower they go down. Meretz was on the rise yesterday and is now on the decline." And what about the parties that the surveys put under the threshold, like Gesher, Tzomet, and Gal Hirsch's Magen? "Orly Levy gets a lot more than either of them. She's catching up to Kahlon and that's at a level that's very close, and Kahlon has an advantage, but she's been closing in the last few days. It could end in 4-4 or 5-0 favoring Kahlon but not vice versa.
"As to Oren Hazan, in the past three days he's been positive, but he's still lower than Levy and Kahlon, although Liberman's audience uses Russian search engines, so part of the trend is hidden from our eyes."
And what about the right-wing parties? In contrast to trends in the polls, Tzamir believes that "Bennett is leading a very significant gap over the Right Parties Union." Tzamir notes that the votes of the soldiers will decide certain parties.