Are centrists even real? Combining survey self-reports and web tracking data to improve our understanding of left-right ideology


Description: This presentations presents and validates an approach to measure people’s ideology based on their media diets, measured using web tracking data. The approach uses Correspondence Analysis to compute a measure of ideology using only information about the media outlets that people read during a month of tracking. After validating the scale with acceptable success, I combined this web tracking measure of ideology with the one obtained through self-reports, using Hidden Markov Models. By doing so, I am able to measure the quality of both approaches, showing that while the web tracking approach might be useful in some circumstances, the traditional self-reported measure of ideology performs exceptionally well (with just some problems in the extremes and the centre).

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