The two most visible Puerto Rican elected leaders in the United States are Carmen Yulín Cruz, the Mayor of San Juan, and Ricardo Rosselló, the Governor of Puerto Rico. Rosselló is also the president of the pro-statehood Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), while Yulín Cruz is one of the vice presidents of the Partido Popular Democratico (PPD) and is expected to challenge Rosselló in the 2020 gubernatorial elections. Who has garnered the most attention in the weeks following Hurricane Maria?
There are many ways to answer this question. For example, we can collect Google Trends data to explore which politician has received the most attention in the United States and in Puerto Rico. The other way is to measure the number of times the U.S. media has mentioned Rosselló or Yulín Cruz in their news stories. In today’s post, we will use Google Trends data and in tomorrow’s we will examine the U.S. media coverage of Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts.
We will limit our analysis for Google searches conducted in the United States and in Puerto Rico between September 19, 2017 and October 28, 2017. The first pie chart shows that Google Search users in the United States were more likely to seek information about Yulín Cruz than about Rosselló.
This should not be surprising. The San Juan mayor’s Twitter feud with President Donald Trump and her repeated criticisms of the federal government’s relief efforts made her a national icon.
The next graph captures the volume of Google searches for both elected leaders during the specified time period.
The graph shows that Yulín Cruz’s Internet popularity among Americans was linked to her Twitter feud with Donald Trump, which took place before he visited Puerto Rico to survey the damage on October 3. On October 19, Rosselló earned more attention than the San Juan mayor. This spike followed the Governor’sWhite House meeting with President Trump on October 19, 2017.
Google users’ search preferences in Puerto Rico reveal a different story. Yulín Cruz is more popular than Rosselló, but by a smaller margin.
It is worth highlighting that that the graph below shows that Puerto Ricans did not conduct any searches from September 21 through September 24. These were the days the island experienced a total blackout and Puerto Ricans lacked access to the Internet. The second observation is that interest in Rosselló is higher in Puerto Rico than in the United States, suggesting that the governor’s main political competitor is actually not the leader of the PPD, Hector Ferrer, but the San Juan mayor.
Although Google Trends is a powerful analytical tool, the data does not inform us which leader is the most popular or which one is seen as more trustworthy. But it is clear from Google Trends that Yulín Cruz has garnered the most interest in the United States and in Puerto Rico.
What do you think of these trends? Do you think that Yulín Cruz deserves all this attention? What do you think of Rosselló’s leadership and his performance so far?