Category Archives: Election

Google Trends and the Last Minute Voter

Guest post on


What is Google Trends?

From wikipedia: “Google Trends is a public web facility of Google Inc., based on Google Search, that shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages. The horizontal axis of the main graph represents time (starting from 2004), and the vertical is how often a term is searched for relative to the total number of searches, globally.”

Why is this interesting?

A survey is scientific but it takes time to do and it takes time to process. It costs a lot and, without releasing all the questions and the data, it is most valuable to the politician who has all the variables. It misleads the common person who is ill equipped to question and dissect the data.

Google Trends is free and it is a public facility so anyone can verify the results. It is almost real time which allows crafty people to use it as a leading indicator.

2004 Elections

First let’s take a look at the weeks prior to the 2004 elections through the lens of Google Trends:


What this shows is that, except for 1 week, FPJ had more searches than GMA until the first week of April and the last week of April when they were tied.  FPJ was ahead until May 2-8 with GMA overtaking FPJ for searches dated May 9-15.

We have to look at the internet population during 2004. The penetration then of the internet were mostly through dial-up and internet shops [Source: “Internet Live Stats“].



We only had 4.5 Million internet users then but, if we remove non voters, I suspect this would be close to 2-3 Million voters. What we can see is that the Internet-Enabled Filipinos were really torn between the two candidates.

2010 Elections: Pnoy vs Erap vs Villar

Fast forward 6 years:


Some observations:

The searches escalated with three distinct parts: October to December | January to April | April to May

October started with Pnoy and Erap neck and neck, and with Manny Villar a distant 3rd. Manny Villar’s campaign was unique because it intelligently used the campaign components of Party, Senatorial Slate and Partylist to promote the Presidential Candidate of the Party. However, Pnoy, riding in the glow of the Aquino name, coasted to high google searches while, curiously, Villar’s and Erap’s search volumes mirrored each other up to the start of January.

From January to April, Manny Villar became the front runner in terms of google searches. I attribute this to two things: (1) Villar’s snappy campaign song was such an ear worm that it drove people to search for him online, and (2) Villar had a decent website and good fluff articles about his rise from poverty. When you see someone with such a compelling narrative, you want to know more about him. This drives more google searches.

January to April was not all roses for Villar because Google Trends are not always positive. The “truth campaign”, or in real terms, the demolition squads of the other campaigns, went full blast. This may also have driven the google searches up.

What we do know from the data is that, by the end of April, Erap and Pnoy were rising and Villar had flat-lined.

May search trends show us that Pnoy had overtaken Erap while Erap had overtaken Villar. This makes me believe that, prior to Facebook, we waited until the last minute to decide who to vote for. When all the ads and all the TV guestings and all the newspaper articles have been read, we hunker down and search for compelling reasons to vote for someone. Yes, there are people like members of the Society of Honor who read everything online and watch every interview, but the majority wait and decide during the last two weeks before the election.

Mar vs Binay


The graph showing Mar Roxas vs Jojo Binay made me think of that “Last Two Weeks conjecture.” That conjecture tells me that the campaign is long and, if I am right, this race is far from over.

Last Two Weeks Conjecture and the Political Narrative

We are biased by how we were trained, our religion, our experiences, our education and status. If people really avoid making the decision till the last two weeks, what does this warn us about how the irresponsible tabloid media will affect the last minute deciders? When you are wanting for time, there is less time for reflection and less time to figure out if people are honest about their intentions. There is less time to figure out if the points in a 20 point agenda contradict each other and there is less time to reflect on the impossibility of a statement like “Ginawa ko sa Makati gagawin ko sa buong Pilipinas” or “Nagawa ko na sa Davao gagawin ko sa Pilipinas”.

People who are politically active have to make a stand. They have to make people care, whoever their candidate is. They have to help people understand why the candidate’s statements are true, that his plans are not drawings in the sand, not motherhood statements, fluff and nothing else.

Read, Watch, Meditate and Reflect. If I have one wish for our voters, that is my wish.


Note from author: “Inspired by Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight

rePost :: f so many of us truly believe _____ is the best candidate to navigate the Philippines through these very tough times and we don’t do what we can to make him president. :: Travelife Magazine’s Suitcase Tales: Talking Travel with Gilbert Teodoro

The real tragedy lies with us Filipinos: if so many of us truly believe GIBO is the best candidate to navigate the Philippines through these very tough times and we don’t do what we can to make him president. If we believe he’ll make the best president and yet we don’t elect him because other candidates have more money, more machinery, more pedigree or a couple of very powerful media behind them, we’ve basically slammed the door on an opportunity that doesn’t come very often in the history of a country. Truly great presidential material is rare anywhere, but it’s perhaps rarer in countries like ours where real skills and capabilities take the backseat to sentimentalism, showbiz and media perceptions. Don’t we deserve and need the best qualified person as president, especially at this very crucial time for ourselves and the world?

via Travelife Magazine’s Suitcase Tales: Talking Travel with Gilbert Teodoro.

Better Class of Politicians :: Manny does a Floyd (A missed opportunity) | Filipino Voices

Fr. Tito Caluag who is supposed to have signed the report has publicly denounced the hoax by stating to the effect that the document is forged and that he is not even competent to make the evaluation since he is neither a psychologist (nor a psychiatrist).

It was then a perfect opportunity for Villar to be a gentleman politician by condemning the ludicrous fabrication and thereby allowing to mitigate the tone of animosity in the campaign (that is, if the source of the report is not his party or a cabal of rabid partisans). Very unfortunately, Villar did just the exact opposite.

One may recall that during the last US presidential election, a woman from the audience in a town hall meeting stood up and took the microphone to confirm from John McCain if Barack Obama is an Arab (implying maliciously that being an Arab, Obama is either uncivil or a terrorist). McCain defended his rival without any hesitation. “No ma’am,” McCain said to the woman after retaking the microphone from her. “He is a decent family man . . . citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign is all about,” he further stressed earnestly.

Unlike McCain who had had the basic decency to cut off the woman wanting to stoke bigotry, Villar reacted in the other extreme by issuing a statement challenging Aquino to submit to a psychiatric test to determine his rival’s fitness to be a president. In a pretense to appear fair, Villar said he is willing to take the same test or a “comprehensive physical and mental examination in order to ascertain [our] fitness to occupy the highest office of the land.”

via Manny does a Floyd (A missed opportunity) | Filipino Voices.

Better Class of Politicians Please :: Black ops and the nature of the 2010 campaigns – Maria A. Ressa | ABS-CBN News Online Beta

It was the first public denial of a salacious document masquerading as fact. By disclosing our sources without naming names, we gave our viewers a glimpse of what was going on behind the scenes.That is why this story is important. Events are never isolated so context defines the story’s value.Three days earlier, the Nacionalista Party used the word “topak” to describe Aquino.“Ano yung TOPAK ni Noynoy? Ito po yung Trapo, Oportunista at Kamaganak Inc na pumapaligid kay Noynoy Aquino,” said Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, secretary-general of the Nacionalista Party. This statement echoed earlier remarks by Villar spokesman Gilbert Remulla on ANC.The context of this fake document story seems to show an NP campaign to question Sen. Aquino’s mental health, something its standard-bearer, Sen. Manuel Villar publicly did on DZMM on Saturday, April 10.The Nacionalista Party denied they gave the documents to ABS-CBN and challenged us to name our sources. They publicly declared we are biased for Sen. Aquino.Yet, earlier, party representatives thanked us for airing our exclusive video of Baby James Yap saying “Villar” at a campaign rally of about 15,000 people. That video has since been replayed by another network and spread online by Sen. Villar’s supporters. Airing that video ruffled feathers within the Liberal Party and our own network.Nacionalista Party representatives also thanked us for disclosing two weeks ago that sources from the Liberal party gave ABS-CBN the documents questioning Sen. Villar’s ad campaign. Although the documents are authentic, the intent to demolish is the same. The Liberal Party also denied giving those documents to ABS-CBN.Frankly, it’s shocking to see such blatant distortions of the truth. Oh, how I wish we could disclose our sources, but those are the standards we live by.In other nations, news organizations routinely report on demolition teams and black ops as part of the election landscape. Negative advertising is part of the game. When candidates use this, they are transparent and accept the risk that it could backfire against them.In our country, candidates prefer to hide behind – and manipulate – journalists.To the political parties, we do not write stories because we are for or against you. We aim to tell it like it is. After all, how you run your campaigns gives us an idea of how you will run our nation.

via Black ops and the nature of the 2010 campaigns – Maria A. Ressa | ABS-CBN News Online Beta.

WTF :: News Sources ?? :: Manuel L. Quezon III: The Daily Dose

About 83 percent say TV. Less than 10 percent say radio, only 2 percent say the papers.

But here’s the clincher. What then are the top trusted sources of news? Two out of three won’t surprise you: “TV Patrol,” and its rival, “24 Oras.” But the third top trusted source of news is “Wowowee.”

The question then becomes: Is one citizen’s definition of a news source very different from that of others? The figures can apply to radio, where Bombo Radyo and DZRH find themselves as trusted news sources together with Love Radio on FM; or to the broadsheets, where the Inquirer and Manila Bulletin are in the company of the tabloid Bulgar.

via Manuel L. Quezon III: The Daily Dose.

You must read this!!!! :: Market Manila – Income Levels / Poverty in the Philippines – General

This is probably one of the top 5 posts I’ve read about the Philippines this year.

Marketman’s Running Survey

In the survey I am running (or if you read this later, survey that I ran), it seems some 40% of readers actually think the Philippines is POORER than it is, in other words, a fairly negative sentiment. Some 24% of you got it right, with roughly 86-88% of the families earning less than PHP25,000 per month for a family of 5. But approximately 36% of you were varying degrees of being overly optimistic, and believed that many more families earned more than they actually do. Okay, so hold this thought for a moment. Roughly 87% of all families in the Philippines, representing 75.7 million people, are living on less than PHP5,000 (USD110) per month per person on average in income.

via Market Manila – Income Levels / Poverty in the Philippines – General.

Okay a little too over the top. but I really wanted you to read this!!!

rePost :: Till victory :: BusinessWorld Online:

I’ve praised PGMA for the cash transfers to the poor because of the significant level or research done on the effects of CCT in improving lives in Africa, South America and Asia.  This is controversial for most, especially the libertarian leaning people but I am of the helping each other leaning type. Praise to Noy for knowing stuff like this. In a way Gordon, G1BO  and even Jamby have promising insightful projects lined up. So Praise to them too.

To strengthen Noynoy’s pro-poor position, his campaign must persistently explain the link between corruption and poverty. It must flesh out Noynoy’s statement that corruption “deprives the poor of the services they badly need.”

The campaign has to highlight the elements of Noynoy’s pro-poor platform that have not been widely publicized. An example is the program to sustain and expand the conditional cash transfer (CCT) to the poor. The program provides cash subsidy for the poor, conditional on sending their children to school and availing themselves of public health services. A CCT administered by a transparent and honest administration will do away with the patronage that characterizes traditional politics. The CCT has a double dividend — it provides immediate relief to the poor and paves the way for long-term poverty eradication.

Further, to solidify the support in rural areas, Noynoy can follow up his promise to subject Hacienda Luisita to land distribution.

The second task is to strengthen the mass movement component of the electoral campaign. Amplifying Noynoy’s pro-poor platform also serves the purpose of energizing the mass movement.

via BusinessWorld Online: Till victory.