Filipinos expect 'markedly higher' irregularities in 2010 polls -- survey

By Jesus F. Llanto,, Newsbreak

Posted at Apr 17 2010 10:37 PM | Updated as of Apr 18 2010 06:38 AM

7 of 10 voters expecting vote buying; harassment expected most in Mindanao

MANILA, Philippines--Filipino voters are going to the polls on May 10 expecting "markedly higher" incidents of irregularities compared to past elections, according to a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Vote-buying is the most common form of irregularity that voters are anticipating, with 7 out of 10 saying it will "definitely" or "probably happen" in their localities.

A little over half of the respondents (51%) said there would be cheating in the counting of votes.

The survey, sponsored by the Asia Foundation, was conducted from March 19 to 22, 2010.

"Grassroots expectations of election irregularities in 2010 and 2007 are markedly higher compared to previous campaigns in 2004, 2001 and 1992," the survey showed.

"In 2007, expectations of election irregularities were steady between February and mid-April, but then declined from mid-April to early May. Compared to the May 2007 survey, expectations of election irregularities have increased in February 2010 and then in March 2010," it added.

Among the significant findings of the survey are:

  • Expectations of cheating in vote-counting increased from 45% in May 2007 to 49% in February 2010 and 51% in March 2010.

  • Expectations of harassment of voters increased from 30% in May 2007 to 34% in February 2010 and 45% in March 2010

  • Expectations of the use of violence during the election campaign period slightly increased to 37% in March 2010 from 31% in February 2010, the first time the SWS tested the issue.

Seven out of ten Filipino voters (71%) expect vote-buying to happen in the May 2010 elections, while a little more than half of them are expecting cheating to happen in the counting of votes.

"Expectations of vote-buying increased from 57% in May 2007 to 63% in February 2010 and 71% in March 2010," the survey said.

The survey also showed that 51% expect cheating in the counting of votes, while 48% are expecting incidents of flying voters. Forty-five percent are expecting harassment of voters, while 37% are expecting the use of violence during the election campaign period.

There is higher expectation of harassment and use of violence in Mindanao than in Metro Manila and the 2 other major islands.

"Three-fifths (60%) in Mindanao expect the harassment of voters to occur in their own locality, higher than those in Balance Luzon (43%), Metro Manila (38%), and Visayas (36%) who expect the same. On the possibility of the use of violence during the election campaign period, 52% in Mindanao expect this to happen. Only about one-third in Metro Manila (35%), Balance Luzon (32%), and Visayas (30%) believe that there will be violence during the campaign period in their own locality," it also said.

Expectations of cheating in the counting of votes and flying voters are higher in Metro Manila and Mindanao than in the rest of Luzon and in the Visayas, the survey added.

"Sixty percent in Mindanao and 58% in Metro Manila expect that there will be cheating in the counting of votes in their own locality. Most of those from Visayas (57%) and Balance Luzon (52%), however, do not expect cheating in vote-counting to happen," the survey said.

"On the possibility of voting of flying voters during the May 2010 elections, 60% in Mindanao and 57% in Metro Manila expect this to happen. In contrast, 62% in Visayas and 56% in Balance Luzon do not expect the occurrence of flying voters," it added.

The survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews of 2,100 registered voters, divided into random samples of 300 in Metro Manila and 600 each in the rest of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. It has a margin of error of ±2.2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, and ±4% for the rest of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

Expectation that vote-buying will occur in their own locality, the survey said, is high across all areas.It is slightly higher in the Visayas and Mindanao (75%) than in the rest of Luzon (69%) and Metro Manila (66%). (