Nitish Kumar vs Tejashwi Yadav; Gauging virtual popularitytext_fields
The second phase of elections wrapped up yesterday in Bihar with 53.51 per cent voter turn-out percentage recorded by Election Commission. The elections shall wrap up on the 7th with the third phase of polling for 78 seats. This time, the election campaigning also occurred virtually identifying the possibilities of the virtual space coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic. Assuming it's mostly youth on social media, it is important to note that the youth population of Bihar between the ages of 18-39 forms up to 50.97 per cent of the population with 16 per cent voters in the age group of 18-25.
As of the time this article is being written, Tejashwi Yadav has 1,643,493 likes on Facebook against Nitish Kumar who has 1,602,777; a difference of 40,716. In terms of following, the RJD leader has 296,497 followers more than the incumbent Chief Minister. With approximately 3 lakh followers more, Tejashwi Yadav also has a higher number of engagements on his Facebook page. For a live posted on Facebook from his campaign in Sikti, Tejashwi Yadav had 11K reactions within an hour as opposed to Nitish Kumar's live from Kochadhaman around the same time which garnered only 1.8K reactions.
While Tejashwi's live has gathered more 'love' reacts after likes, Nitish Kumar has accumulated more 'haha' reacts. Tejashwi's live has 527K comments underneath and 838 shares while Nitish has 543 comments and 111 shares despite being posted a while earlier than Yadav which hints at larger engagements on the platform by the audience with Tejashwi's posts as compared to Nitish Kumar. As per India Today's Data Intelligence Unit based on posts between 25th September and 25th October, on an average, Tejashwi received nine times more likes than Nitish. While Nitish received 5,572 likes per post, Tejashwi clocked 51,000 likes per post, nine times more than the incumbent CM.
Twitter, though less popular than Facebook, has a significant political crowd. Nitish Kumar is more popular on Twitter with 6.1M followers as opposed to Yadav who has only 2.6M followers; a difference of 3.5M followers. However, in terms of engagement, Tejashwi still fares better with the same live video analysed on Facebook being retweeted 650 times on Twitter with 4.2K likes as opposed to Nitish Kumar's whose live got retweeted only 35 times with 302 likes. This might also be because the live by Yadav is 1:20 minutes long as compared to Kumar, which is 22:18 minutes long. Shorter videos are favoured on Twitter.
However, it needs to be noted that social media interactions need not be with the voters from Bihar itself. Participation could also be from other geographic locations and potential non-voters.