US poll fever grips India; internet search, interest soar

Analysts believe search for Biden, Trump and US polls online will again soar once the results are finally declared and Americans get their 46th president.
By Saubhadra Chatterji | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 07, 2020 04:20 PM IST
A waitress walks past an outdoor news video projection showing Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, and preliminary presidential election results displayed at a restaurant's outdoor dining setting downtown Los Angeles late on November 6.(AP)

Polls are underway in India’s fourth-largest electoral state, Bihar, but Indians seem to be more interested in the US presidential elections.

The largest democracy’s deep interest in that of the oldest one, the US, is reflected in Google Trends. It is in sync with the global focus on the presidential election given the American influence over world affairs.

As counting started in the US on November 3 ET (early morning of November 4 in India), Google Trends showed “US Election Results” topped the search charts with more than 5 million hits. It overtook “Arnab Goswami” on the day police arrested India’s most talked-about TV personality after reopening an abetment of suicide case against him. Goswami’s arrest hit the headlines and generated over 3 million search hits on the internet.

Throughout November 4, “US Election” and “American Election 2020 result” accounted for over a million searches individually on the internet. They secured the third and fourth spots among the chartthrobs in India.

The US, home to 3.8 million Indian Americans, has come a long way from the Cold War era to become one of India’s strongest allies, especially over the past two decades.

In a WhatsApp group of a Ghaziabad housing society, residents took a break from the usual chatter over pollution, and Diwali advisories to discuss the Donald Trump versus Joe Biden battle.

As the complex counting process has continued, the hype, too, has subsided considerably. But still more people continue to search for US polls than for Bihar. Internet search related to Joe Biden, now on the verge of becoming the next US president, increased from 7.30 am on November 4 to peak the next day.

The data shows that as results started trickling in on November 5 morning, among every 100 searches in India on Google, 34 were about Biden and 14 about Bihar.

But as the exhaustive counting dragged on, Bihar got 16 searches against every 21 hits for the US election.

Analysts believe, search for Biden, Trump, and US polls will again soar once the results are finally declared and Americans get their 46th president.

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