HEADING into the final week of the campaign, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan thanked the people for recently making him the most-searched vice-presidential candidate in Google and among the top influencers in the Philippine elections campaign, but appealed to the people to turn the clicks into votes on May 9.
“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa interes na pinapakita ng ating mga kababayan sa kampanya namin ni VP Leni. Salamin ito ng sigla at pagpupursigi na nakikita natin sa mga rally, house-to-house campaign at pakikipag-usap natin sa iba’t ibang sektor sa buong bansa,” the vice-presidential candidate said.
“Ang pinakamahalaga nating hiling sa ating mga kababayan na nagse-search sa atin sa Google — sana sa halalan sa Mayo 9, the search is over, Leni at Kiko na ang isulat sa balota,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan emerged the most searched vice-presidential candidate with 46% while Vice-President Leni Robredo topped the presidential category with 57% in the Google Trend report as of April 29, 2022.
This was not the first time Pangilinan surged in the social media search, topping the March 21 report as well.
Launched on March 9 this year, Google’s Search Trends page for Philippine elections aims to provide a tool to allow users to bring up “the top queries, topics and most-searched presidential and vice-presidential candidates running in the elections.”
The page also has data on the top policy issues searched in each part of the country. These issues include education, drugs, poverty, and justice, among others.
In the ADDS Sentiment Analysis report as of April 24, 2022, Pangilinan has scored the highest social engagement, the metric which is the most important predictor per ADDS and related studies, since this has the highest correlation to vote generation or conversion prediction.
ADDS provides communication and outreach process outsourcing solutions for the country’s civic organizations, according to its Facebook page description.
Several analysts have said that Google search has become a powerful predictor of political behavior. This is so because data generated on digital channels are free from posturing and reflect the people’s true intentions, according to Doctor of Social Psychology of the University of California Christine Ma-Kellams. (https://www.philstar.com/opinion/2022/03/09/2165915/google-trends-and-presidential-surveys/amp/)
According to the article, Google Trends has been accurate even in high-volatility scenarios where trolls disrupt the general online sentiment. Not only was it successful in predicting the election outcomes in the United States since 2004 (including Trump’s 2016 win), it has accurately predicted the victories of Canadian Prime Minsters Paul Martin in 2003, Stephen Harper in 2006, 2008, and 2011 and Justin Trudeau in 2015, 2019, and 2021. Similarly, Google Trends accurately predicted the election results in Greece, Spain, Germany, Brazil, and the Philippines, where Rodrigo Duterte won.
Pangilinan and Robredo’s surge in social media mirrors the support of the people during campaign rallies, which always gather mammoth crowds.
“Parami na nang parami ang naliliwanagan kung sino ang karapat-dapat iboto. Hindi natin sasayangin ang tiwalang ito. Magdodoble-sikap tayo sa huling linggo ng kampanya,” Pangilinan said.