Surveys are showing that senatorial candidate Bong Go is ramping up as a force to reckon with in the race for a seat in the Philippine Senate in this year’s elections. Widely-derided as epal (grandstanding) and “well-funded” in Opposition circles, Go is delivering the goods as far as gaining traction in the collective consciousness of the electorate. An analysis of Google search data points to an apparent consistency between conventional survey outcomes and personal interest in Go as evident in what Filipinos search for on Google in private.
Historical search trends across a sample of several of the more, shall we say, controversial candidates over the last twelve months show that Go has consistently attracted the most interest relative to candidates Imee Marcos, Mar Roxas, and Grace Poe. Go seems to be validation of the old public relations truism that any sort of publicity, whether bad or good, is good.
Perhaps, Go can thank not just the support he’s been getting from his supporters but also the derision he’s been copping from “influencers” from the Opposition camp who have been making names for themselves on social media drawing attention to — and derision against — Go’s campaign methods. Goes to show that Opposition “influencers” aren’t exactly the brightest bulbs of the lot.
More importantly, interest in Bong Go is evenly-distributed geographically across the Philippines compared, say, to the strongest Opposition candidate (Mar Roxas) who seems to attract interest primarily skewed towards his traditional electoral stronghold in the Visayas region.
It seems Go is well-poised to ace these elections if he continues this current trajectory and if he doesn’t somehow fuck something up. The important lesson here is that whilst social media chatter may tell us something about what Netizens are outwardly saying or expressing emotionally about a candidate, the story told by data captured from more private interactions with the Net — like these Google search data we’ve done a quick-and-dirty analysis on above — is often vastly different and more revealing than what social media lets on.
The call-to-action is clear to both Filipino voters and the partisan groups that are pitching one candidate or another. People need to work smarter, be more data-driven, and desist from the traditional shrillness of obsolete approaches to “activism”.
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