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From Survey to Social Media: Public Opinion and Politics in the Age of Big Data

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For decades, the study and the understanding of public opinion has served as an important component in politics and policymaking especially in democratic societies. For a government to be truly democratic and responsive to the issues and problems that concerns the people, it has to understand the “pulse of the people.” The rise of the Internet and social media and the availability of big data has created an exciting opportunity in exploring new knowledge and a new form of big data-driven public opinion. With the recent spate of unpredictability in global politics and surprising opinion poll survey results, big data could well serve as an important tool in complementing or even replacing traditional public opinion surveys as well as to better understand conversations and discussions in a more scientific manner in order to anticipating future events or crisis. This paper examines the political opinions and the extent of the representativeness of big data in the context of political opinions in social media. It argues that big data is capable of not merely to measure opinions and perceptions but more significantly the power to shape the society’s worldview, perception of reality as well as forecasting future political trends.
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Keywords: Big Data; Perception; Politics; Public Opinion; Social Media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Media and Information Warfare Studies, Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Malaysia

Publication date: November 1, 2017

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  • ADVANCED SCIENCE LETTERS is an international peer-reviewed journal with a very wide-ranging coverage, consolidates research activities in all areas of (1) Physical Sciences, (2) Biological Sciences, (3) Mathematical Sciences, (4) Engineering, (5) Computer and Information Sciences, and (6) Geosciences to publish original short communications, full research papers and timely brief (mini) reviews with authors photo and biography encompassing the basic and applied research and current developments in educational aspects of these scientific areas.
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