The Grand Old Indian elections, that massive multi-month saga is long at last nearing the end. Already, various news channels have started relentless coverage of the run-up to May 16th, when hopefully we will have a new government. In this run-up, I thought it would be interesting if Google could throw up some insights. So I spent some time over at Google Trends, looking at search trends for the key “front-runners” for this election.
The election has been largely dominated by three main politicians at the national level viz. BJP’s Narendra Modi, Congress’s Rahul Gandhi and wild horse AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal. So I pondered over what Google Search trends can reveal for these three players over the last 12 months. The first graph which shows Interest over Time from Google Trend’s is shown below:
The graph shows a clear “Modi Wave” dominating the web search queries in the last 12 months. In fact, its more like a Tsunami in the last couple of months. Poor Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal are far far behind in this quest to remain at the top of the voter’s mind. They however outshine Modi in one or two instances each. In Rahul’s case, seems his interview with Arnab on Times Now was responsible for the spike in search interest that we see towards the end of January. Arvind Kejriwal on the other hand spikes well above Modi in December when the AAP party formed the Delhi government. There is one other sharp spike in interest for Arvind around the time when AAP vacated power in Delhi.
What is more interesting is the regional interest in these leaders. Google trends luckily also shows the relative interest by state for each of these leaders. Let’s start with Modi whose chart is shown below:
Predictably Gujarat dominates as the region from which maximum interest is shown. In this election, Narendra Modi has turned out to be that rare candidate who has shown some measure of a pan India appeal and this is evidenced somewhat by the search interest graph. However, one should note that the interest seems to be more concentrated in North and North-west India.
Now let’s move on to Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi seems to have a bigger search following in the North, particularly in Jharkhand. Overall again, there is a concentration in the North, but it is not as intense as that of Modi. And finally now lets look at Arvind Kejriwal.
Given that the AAP movement found its first success in North India, during the Delhi state election, predictably search volumes for Kejriwal are concentrated in the North. However, surprisingly the leader finds much lower interest in other parts of the country as compared to Modi and Gandhi.
Interestingly all three charts, show a remarkable “lack” of interest in South India and parts of the North-East. Would this lead to yet another “coalition” government propped up by the parties of the south? Only time will tell…