Search Volume Predicted Duterte and Trump. Will it also Predict the 2022 Winner?

I wrote this in 2016:

Using Google Trends, I looked at the election results of countries with populations and internet penetrations similar to the Philippines. I checked whether the winners were the same as the most searched candidates for those countries. I found that search volume correlated with the winner, except for two:

Aside from past elections during that time, I also included data for candidates of the 2016 Philippine and US elections. Search volume predicted the victory of both Duterte and Trump.

That old article explores whether search volume is truly predictive of election results. Aside from the actual correlation (it might represent notoriety instead of voting intent), my key concerns were the influence of internet penetration and level of corruption. A lower internet penetration means that only a small fraction of the population is represented in the report. Corruption might skew the results with vote-buying and cheating.

Internet penetration is no longer an issue, at least for the Philippines. The current percentage of Filipinos with internet access is estimated to be 75%.

The table above shows that even in countries perceived to be corrupt, search volume correlates with election results most of the time.

So how does it look like for the upcoming Philippine elections? Here’s the latest:

https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2021-09-01%202022-04-10&geo=PH&q=%2Fm%2F02pqzq,%2Fm%2F02rbl1,%2Fm%2F03nnxh8,%2Fm%2F03pmbb,%2Fm%2F0n50kzg

Marcos and Robredo are tied when looking at the average since September 2021 (because of Pacquiao’s fight on August 2021, the lines are flattened if we include previous months). Marcos was higher from October 2021 up to the beginning of 2022. They were neck-to-neck until February 2022, when Robredo’s lead increased. This lead has continued up to the time of writing.

https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2022-01-10%202022-04-10&geo=PH&q=%2Fm%2F02pqzq,%2Fm%2F02rbl1,%2Fm%2F03nnxh8,%2Fm%2F03pmbb,%2Fm%2F0n50kzg

Let’s focus on the top two contenders, Marcos and Robredo

The report also shows where each candidate has the highest share of searches. As expected, the candidates got the highest share of search volume in their home provinces.

The report also shows who dominates in each region. The first map is color-coded based on who has the highest search volume in each region for the last 8 months. The second map shows the same for the last 30 days.

Last 8 months
Last 30 days

Let’s also look at the vice presidential candidates

https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2022-01-10%202022-04-10&geo=PH&q=%2Fm%2F010fbk48,%2Fm%2F0ks5y_,%2Fm%2F07b9pf,%2Fg%2F11c44tmmz_,%2Fm%2F026bz84

It’s dominated by Sara Duterte

Solid Mindanao:

Play around with the data yourself: https://trends.google.com/

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