Clear message, politics of addition, debates propelled Poe to top spot, says analyst
MANILA – A smart, disciplined campaign, combined with her status as a "consensus candidate," allowed Grace Poe to become the surprise front-runner in the 2013 senatorial elections, according to a political analyst.
Poe, an independent candidate who was also included in the Team PNoy slate, currently leads all candidates with 14,506,285 votes as of 11:08 am, according to the Comelec Transparency Server.
University of the Philippines (UP) assistant professor and political analyst Dr. Nicole Curato said Poe was “very disciplined” in her campaign and focused on her relationship with her late father, Fernando Poe Jr (FPJ).
“She could have had mixed messages, and say, ‘But you know, aside from my father, I also have my own qualification.’ But she didn’t do that in her ads,” Dr. Curato said.
“She was just very clear that she is Grace Poe, that she is her father’s daughter, which was a very disciplined way of looking at it,” she added.
“It was an intelligent part of her campaign – sticking to the main message.”
Poe also participated in enough debates to show she has what it takes to serve as a senator.
“Grace Poe was consistent in all debates,” Dr. Curato said. “In a way, even if the ads had that consistent message that says ‘I’m FPJ’s daughter,’ through the debates, she was able to exemplify that ‘I know something and that I stand for something.’”
POLITICS OF ADDITION, BROAD BASE
Curato noted that Poe can be considered as a “consensus candidate” as well.
“She’s a consensus candidate in the sense that although she’s part of Team PNoy, we also see a lot of people from UNA (United Nationalist Alliance) giving her support to her,” she said.
“Some analyst would interpret this as a vindication of what happened to her father, but another way of looking at this is a point in our political history where there is not much opposition to the President,” she added.
“In a way, Grace exemplifies that consensus that we experience right now,” Dr. Curato said. “She appeals to a broad electorate. She doesn’t just have a strong base in a particular socio-economic base class or a particular region.”
Moreover, since there is no contentious issue that defines the 2013 midterm elections, it was not surprising to see a candidate like Poe lead the polls.
“There have been a lot of matrices on where these candidates stand on particular issues. On these particular elections, we didn’t see a coherent RH (Reproductive Health) RH, or anti-RH vote. We didn’t see a coherent dynasty vote,” Dr. Curato said.
“It’s really not an election defined by issues, that’s why it’s not a surprise that a candidate like Grace Poe could top this poll,” she added.
“She doesn’t really fight anyone. She’s not really fence-sitting, but she doesn’t stand for anything that’s really solid, apart from representing her father and continuing that legacy.”