As a followup to day before yesterday’s post on @ArvindKejriwal and @narendramodi followers on Twitter, today, we take a look at how popular Rahul Gandhi is when compared to the two national leaders. For this post we used Google Trends to help us gauge the popularity of Rahul, Kejriwal and Modi. Google Trends records search queries that contain keywords related to the three leaders and visualizes the data using graphs. The search query numbers are normalized for our convenience, and plotted on a graph scale of 0-100. The search queries used in the last 30 days are chosen for our case study.
1) Interest over time
If we analyse the peaks and troughs of the Google Trends graph, we can learn why there was a huge spike in the number of people searching for any particular leader. We zeroed on six dates between January 14th, 2014 and February 10th, 2014.
January 21, 2014: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called off his dharna against the Delhi police.
January 23, 2014: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi made a stop in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh to address a Vijay Shankhnad rally.
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January 28, 2014: Rahul Gandhi appeared on Frankly Speaking with Arnab.
February 2, 2014: Modi addresses a rally in Meerut, UP.
February 5, 2014: Modi starts his election speech in Bengali at a rally in Kolkata.
February 8, 2014: Modi, again, but this time he is at a rally in Guwahati. On February 9th, 2014, Rahul went on a roadshow as part of the Congress party’s election campaign, and also addressed a rally in Salepur, Odisha. But Modi was still the most searched politician on that day.
2) Regional interest
As you can see, there is a huge interest for Modi from faraway places like United Arab Emirates and, ironically, Italy. Immigrants dwarf the Emirati in terms of population living in the UAE. A good percentage of the immigrant workers are from India and Nepal. Which might, perhaps, explain his popularity in a Muslim country that practices Sharia law. And about Italy, there is no rational explanation behind the search numbers for Modi except for the churlish suggestion that this has something to do with Sonia Gandhi.
3) Search queries
The search terms for Modi were Modi news, Modi rally, Modi speech. For Rahul, it is Rahul Gandhi interview, Arnab Rahul Gandhi and arnab, to name a few. Despite the Aam Admi Party being in the media glare for Somnath Bharti’s vigilantism, Vinod Kumar Binny’s revolt, and Kumar Vishwas ill-timed and inappropriate joke about Kerala nurses, Kejrwal’s name is not attached with any of these controversies in search queries. Not even ‘Kejriwal Anarchy’ is one of the most searched terms. Judging by the search terms used, Modi is clearly the most popular politician among Indians who rely on Google for news. People are closely following his election campaign.
Based on the above figures, we can reach our own conclusions about who will win the upcoming general elections. But an American college in 2011 published a study on Google Trends that suggests otherwise. The study concluded that Google Trends is just 33% accurate in predicting the outcome of an election.