This time, though, investors shouldn’t be caught by surprise. A
> barometer of online chatter that correctly anticipated most
> Britons would opt to quit the European Union is now suggesting
> that Italians are so fed up with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
> they are willing to vote on Dec. 4 against a slimmed-down
> legislature just to see him sent home.
> This measure of discontent was developed by Predata, a New York-
> based predictive analytics firm founded in early 2015. It scours
> around 1,000 sources to quantify how much the online activity of
> the “Yes” and “No” camps is correlated to the ebb and flow of
> overall interest in the referendum.
> Since Sept. 29, when Renzi officially kicked off the referendum
> campaigning, Predata’s measure shows “No” gaining ground and
> “Yes” plummeting.
> These signals include content posted to sites such as
> Twitter and Wikipedia by the likes of Basta un Sì (the official
> “Yes” campaign) and Beppe Grillo (“No” campaigner and founder of
> the anti-establishment Five Star Movement), explained Aaron
> Timms, Predata’s director of content. “There’s a sign that ‘No’
> at this stage is just a more competent and efficient digital
> outfit than ‘Yes’ is,” Timms said.
> A look at Predata’s Brexit signals — where a less-
> organized “Leave” camp consistently dominated the online debate
> amid tight polls — suggests a strong starting position for
> Italy’s “No” campaign.
> “What we do know from the experience with Brexit,” Timms
> said, “is that when you have a digital-rich, content-rich
> political campaign, the shifting momentum between different
> sides can really be a good indicator of where public opinion is
> heading in a way that polls can’t necessarily catch up with.”
> While not enough to move the Predata dial, Renzi has
> intensified his Twitter campaign to woo younger voters, whom
> polls say are the most likely to reject the referendum. The
> #BastaUnSi (“It takes just one yes”) hashtag, helped by Renzi’s
> 2.65 million Twitter followers, had largely prevailed the “No”
> camp’s #IoVotoNo hashtag (“I vote no”) up until this week when
> it was overtaken in terms of impressions — likes and retweets,
> for example — according to data from analytics site Keynote.
> Roberto Baldassari, president of pollster Istituto Piepoli,
> disagrees that social media is truly representative.
> “The ‘No’ vote is ahead but the electorate behind that
> camp, in particular the Five Star movement, is very fluid,” he
> said. “I think, looking at the trend, that ‘Yes’ is more likely
> to win.”
> Almost 40 percent of those surveyed in Piepoli’s latest poll,
> which had “No” ahead 54 percent to 46 percent, said they might
> switch sides .
> “No” led in five of the last six polls, but within the
> margin of error. “The recent trend is for the ‘Yes’ vote on the
> rise, up four to five points from a month ago,” said Antonio
> Noto, Director of IPR Marketing, whose Sept. 30 poll found 40
> percent still undecided. This is several times larger, as a
> share of respondents, than in the final days before Brexit.
> Investors, meanwhile, seem to trust what Predata’s seeing
> and that polls won’t ultimately switch in Renzi’s favor. Italian
> government bond yields recently climbed to a three-month high
> and the spread with equivalent Spanish securities increased to a
> two-year high.