Thursday, June 5, 2014

Do Netizens prefer Lee Hsien Loong or Roy Ngerng?

On 15 May 2014, blogger Roy Ngerng accused Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of misappropriating CPF funds. The latter, in response, asked Roy to remove the post immediately, apologise, and give a written offer of damages and costs, or face legal action.
Netizens responses were, not surprisingly, mixed. For instance, Online Citizen put up a citizen statement stating that the "threat of legal action is an oppressive tool with undue chilling effects on public discourse". In contrast, Sghardtruth wrote an article titled "To the youths: Blogger Roy Ngerng is NOT your hero".
Using socialmention.com, I ran sentiment analyses on "Lee Hsien Loong" and "Roy Ngerng". Sentiment analysis measures "the attitude of a speaker or a writer with respect to some topic" (wiki). 
Here, I measured the proportion of positive, neutral, and negative mentions of "Roy Ngerng" and "Lee Hsien Loong" in social media sites like Facebook and Twitter over the past week. The data is summarised below. Here, you can see that attitudes towards PM Lee tend to be more polarised than Roy Ngerng, with a greater proportion of negative and positive views, but a smaller proportion of neutral views. 

If you were to give 1 point for every %-point proportion of positive views, 0 for neutral views, and -1 for negative views, PM Lee would garner 48% - 5% = 43% points, whereas Roy Ngerng would get 27% - 1% = 26% points. On this scale, it looks like Netizens tend to like PM Lee compared to Roy Ngerng. 
Do note, however, that this was about the individuals in general, and not specific to the Roy Ngerng issue. For example, comments about changes to Medishield Life were included for PM Lee. 

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