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The Ghost at the Debate (The 12 hour aftermath)

CAVEAT: This analysis is generated immediately after the debate using real-time data, and we will followup with longitudinal graphic and analysis to see if, as more people see the debate, the wider public response is the same as the initial one)

The CNN Pilipinas debate has been over for less than 12 hours. Did BBM’s absence benefit him or his opponents? With Social Intelligence, we are able to make some definitive analysis based on reaction data and general trends.

First, even when BBM is absent, he is still on people’s minds. Most of the posts regarding the debate commented on his absence. At the same time, his supporter’s comments are also highly upvoted and flood the event page. Most of them justified his absence by stating the debate is unnecessary or he is speaking to the people, so there is no need for the debate. Their line of reasoning is interesting, if logical.

Hourly Reaction

Net Positive Sentiment Scores per day (Non cumulative)

Second, even as BBM is on people’s minds with his absence, BBM does not benefit from it. Most of the posts and comments that mentioned BBM do so in a negative light. Leni walked away from the event with high positivity and there is very low negativity directed at her, as it would be if BBM’s followers actually watched the debate. This further validates both BBM’s attempts to run a cult of personality campaign. and the thesis that his followers are not susceptible to persuasion or permissive message.

Hourly Angry Reaction

Social Engagement scores per day (Non cumulative)

Lastly, no other candidate benefited from the debate. We did not see increased movements for Isko, Pacman or Senator Lacson. While it is difficult to measure the number of swing voters left, BBM’s supporters are not persuadable. For Leni to sustain the surge, it’s time for her to use the debate to persuade the followers of Senator Lacson, Mayor Isko, or Pacman. They still show engagement and susceptibility to persuasions. Once this is done, as unlikely as it seems, a deal could be made with these candidates for support or endorsement.

When interpreting social data, we believe the race is close between BBM and Leni. Every event helps generates data for analysis, and BBM’s continued absence is shedding on his strategy, his mindset, and his vulnerability.



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