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YouTube campaign songs could signal the winner of Indonesia’s contested presidential election

Indonesian presidential candidate Joko "Jokowi" Widodo runs on the stage after delivering a speech in front of his supporters at Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta July 5, 2014.
Reuters/Darren Whiteside
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Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Indonesia’s presidential election today hinges on roughly 55 million voters who are under the age of 30 and account for almost a third of the country’s total voters. Polls have now closed for the majority of voters, but it will be a while before we know the winner: Jakarta governor Joko Widodo has claimed victory and ex-general Prabowo Subianto is refusing to concede, and the final results aren’t due until after July 20.

Until the official count, a look at the online response to Widodo and his rival’s campaign may shed some light on their popular support. The candidates have been duking it out over social media and posting a slew of music videos in hopes of reaching the country’s internet savvy youth. As of today, their five videos had received almost one million combined views on Youtube.

According to data from Google, the online video campaign worked better for Jokowi than Prabowo (and both did better than Pharrell’s inescapable hit single, “Happy”).

Searches for “Jokowi song” and “Prabowo song” compared to one of this summer’s most listened to pop songs.

Prabowo’s campaign video has come under fire for seemingly paying respect to Nazism. Here’s that video along with two from Jokowi’s camp, which are punchier and feature a popular local rock band, Slank.

Google analytics also shows searches for campaign songs of both candidates in North Sumatra, East Java, Jakarta, and Yogyakarta, but Jokowi’s camp received more queries from densely populated Central Java.

Searches for Jokowi campaign songs.
Searches for Prabowo campaign songs.

If attention on other social media platforms is any indication, Prabowo has an edge, at least on Facebook. Indonesia has 69 million registered users and as of today, there have been over 200 million posts, comments, likes, or shares related to the election, according to the company. Prabowo has almost twice as many fans as Jokowi on Facebook.


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