Surveys useful to candidates, not much for voters: analyst


Election surveys will be useful to campaign managers, candidates, and financiers, but voters will always hold their own criteria when voting, an analyst said.

Ramon Casiple, Executive Director of Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey and other political surveys in general are not enough to sway voters.

READ: Poe, Binay neck and neck in March SWS survey

“It does not pose a major change in the voters’ preference,” Casiple said on Dateline Philippines Monday.

“Contrary to the 'bandwagon effect' of a survey, many studies have already been done on that. And it’s very negligible impact because many voters don’t really base their decisions on surveys,” he added.

In the latest survey, Vice-President Jejomar Binay got the second largest percentage of preference. Casiple said this is not exactly showing an erosion of his core support since he’s still within his 20-30 percent range, but it is going to be difficult for him to get out of this “doldrum.”

“All of them have chances, but it’s getting very difficult, especially if Sen. Grace Poe surges ahead of the pack. And VP Binay is one of those who benefited from the downturn before of the ratings of Sen. Grace Poe. So he will have a bigger problem than the others,” he said.

The surge in the ratings of the Roxas-Robredo tandem, he said, may not only be attributed to their machinery.

According to Casiple, the current situation is more beneficial to Robredo than Roxas because her problem is mainly awareness—something that is being remedied by their continuous campaign and the media coverage she is getting, effectively boosting her image as a woman and the only female candidate for the vice-presidency—but Roxas, having already held a national post, must win the votes of people who are aware of him but will not vote for him.

In the senatorial race, Manny Pacquiao’s numbers may not have dropped significantly if compared to the most previous results, but Casiple said taking into consideration all other surveys from the start would show that his ratings have been affected by his statements on homosexuals and same-sex marriage.

“Pacquiao still has a chance to do something about the problem that he had, but it’s really a question of him campaigning. From my vantage point, his going to the US is not exactly campaigning because people are already aware of him as a boxer; they support him on that. There is no correlation of popularity in sports now and winning in the election.”

Re-electionist Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, on the other hand, is struggling to make it to the upper half of the surveys. Casiple said it’s because people are hearing very little of him.

“His image is getting blurred, particularly during the anti-corruption hearings. He was there and he was not there. I mean, the ones who were there and took the risk were Pimentel, Trillanes, and Cayetano. He was supposed to be the chair. I think his main problem is that he’s not doing the projection thing, and people don’t just vote for you because you have been senator,” he said.

Casiple compared this to former Sen. Richard Gordon, who is visible right now with the Supreme Court upholding his motion to have the Comelec print the receipts.

Observing that most entries in the top 12 are known names, he noted that while machinery won't always translate to votes, it is important for newer candidates in the race to have resources to reach a bigger number of people and undertake traditional campaigning.