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IHS Sentiment Analysis of Social Media Conversations in February and
March 2014 Indicate Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo as the Clear Front-
Runner for Indonesia’s July Presidential Elections
Online popularity of Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has given the PDI-P a considerable boost to
the 9 April legislative vote with the PDI-P now the clear favourite to win the legislative
SINGAPORE, Asia Pacific (09 April 2014) – Governor of Jakarta Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo is by
far the most popular online candidate, securing an 87% online share of the vote, with the leader
of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Partai Gerakan Indonesia Raya: Gerindra), Prabowo
Subianto, a distant second, according to the latest IHS (NYSE: IHS) analysis on social media
content in Indonesia’s parliamentary and presidential elections.
IHS analysis of social media conversations also indicate that corruption is likely to be the most
important issue in the coming elections, where a large majority of online users want to see a
president who is "transparent, clean, and honest".
Jokowi’s 87% online share of voice outstrips all other competitors, with Prabowo Subianto from
the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Partai Gerakan Indonesia Raya: Gerindra) holding a
distant second place at 6% (see Table 1 below).
A breakdown of online influencers by medium indicates that Jokowi currently dominates the key
online platforms in the country. To further understand Jokowi's popularity, IHS has analyzed the
breakdown of the influence on their share of voice by sources (see Table 2 below).
“Jokowi's social media influence and presence has been bolstered by the fact that he has been
getting a large amount of attention from local news outlets and social media users as a result of
his popularity as the governor of Jakarta,” says Romen Bose, Head of Social Media &
Intelligence for IHS Economics.
“Given that Jakarta is the most wired city in the country, social media users in the capital
continually refer to Jokowi in their posts, with the vast majority of these conversations being
Table 1: Jokowi’s
share of voice
outstrips all other
Table 2: Breakdown of
online influencers by
Social media conversations have described Widodo in a very positive light mostly for his hands-
on leadership approach, and many consider him as a symbol of new hope for the people. On
Twitter, his supporters' aggressive campaigning using the theme "JKW4P" led to nearly 1.8
million mentions compared with other potential candidates who are not as social media-savvy
and have a very low level of influence on the microblogging site as a result.
IHS analysis of Jokowi’s social media influence is a result of him picking up bona fide organic
shares rather than having thousands of paid cyber troopers, and indicates that his 'every-man'
approach has meant that his supporters are campaigning for him because they want to, rather
than being paid to do so.
Similarly noted when he was Major of Solo (2005-2012), Jokowi's leadership in Jakarta has
been characterised by a grassroots approach to fixing problems that blight the lives of ordinary
people: healthcare, education, floods, traffic, and poor housing. His frequent unannounced visits
to poor neighbourhoods and government offices have made for a refreshing change compared
with the perceived bureaucracy and unresponsiveness of other political leaders – all contributing
to the organic growth of online followers.
In contrast, Prabowo is another candidate whose campaign has made a lot of use of social
media, especially Twitter. IHS analysis shows he engages almost daily with his 657,000
followers, setting out his policies, replying to their questions, and updating them on his media
As a former special forces general, Prabowo presents himself as a tough and decisive leader in
contrast with current president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono whose detractors see him as a
weak and hesitant leader.
Prabowo, who was once married to the daughter of late president Haji Muhammad Suharto,
also chairs the Indonesian Farmers' Association (Himpunan Kerukunan Tani Indonesia: HKTI)
and frequently campaigns on the need for Indonesia to be self-sufficient in food production.
Key Electorate Issues
IHS analysis of social media conversations indicate that corruption is likely to be the most
important issue raised in the coming elections, where a large majority of online users want to
see a president who is "transparent, clean, and honest".
“Given Jokowi's anti-graft and clean image, he is likely to benefit greatly from this anti-corruption
factor that ranks so highly,” says Bose. “Online users have voiced issues such as bribes as
having become systemic, with the current ruling PDI-P coalition facing numerous scandals over
the past few years.
The economy ranks second-highest on the list of issues affecting the electorate, with the
majority of conversations being on price increases, especially when the reduction in government
subsidies caused a fuel price hike, and inflation spiraled to 8.4% at the end of 2013 – almost
doubling the 4.3% rate recorded at the end of 2012.
“As costs of living rise, there are many conversations on the need for greater economic
development and job creation to ensure a better standard of living,” says Anton Alifandi, IHS
Principal Analyst and co-author of the report.
“Jokowi has also fared well on this count, with big businesses and investors being optimistic
about his performance in improving Jakarta's economy. As such, the Jakarta Composite Index
rose 3.2% following news that Jokowi would be his party's candidate for the presidential
election. Rarely has the mere announcement of a candidacy been met with such investor relief.”
In addition, issues of national identity are still important to a large majority of Indonesians, with
many concerned about the country's global competitiveness, given the perception that the
current government is keen to sell away Indonesia's rights to its natural resources, and
therefore ensuring that such revenue remains in foreign hands.
“This streak of resource nationalism shows no sign of abating, and most politicians are likely to
continue encouraging such nationalism in order to keep voter support,” says Alifandi. “Prabowo
has been playing this card very strongly, according to online conversations, urging voters not to
elect a candidate that will be a 'puppet president' and who will hand Indonesian resources to
Breakdown of key
IHS analysis also revealed that it is unlikely that party ideology and platforms will determine who
voters support as the majority of Indonesians cast ballots based on the popularity of the party's
likely presidential candidate.
Most social media conversations in Indonesia appear to show little concern for politics or
ideology, with the main preoccupation being their own welfare and that of their family but this
follows way behind that of personality of political leaders and candidates. Party ideology and
policies do not appear to be on the radar of a vast majority of online users.