MANILA (UPDATE) – The house-to-house campaign of Vice-President Leni Robredo and the battle of campaign rallies of the two leading presidential candidates in the run-up to the May 9 elections may still affect voter preference next week, Pulse Asia's president said on Monday night, following the release of the polling firm's final pre-election survey.
In an interview with TeleRadyo, Prof. Ronald Holmes said voters could still change their minds, despite the almost steady numbers in Pulse Asia's last pre-election survey before voters go to the polls next week.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is still the frontrunner in the presidential race, according to the survey results released Monday afternoon. He retained his March rating of 56 percent, based on the response of 2,400 respondents polled on April 16-21.
Robredo is in second place with 23 percent, one point down from her rating in March.
Holmes said it is still possible for the actual results of the May 9 elections to be different from their last pre-election survey.
For one, the survey was done around three weeks before this year's elections, unlike the last Pulse Asia pre-election survey in previous elections that were done closer to voting day, he said. In the 2016 elections, for instance, Pulse Asia's last pre-election survey was conducted April 26-29, around two weeks prior to election day.
"May tsansa pa rin at maaaring magbago pa rin, kasi gaya ng sinabi ko, medyo mas maaga itong survey na ito, ginanap doon sa mga nakaraang survey, nakaraang eleksyon," Holmes told Teleradyo.
(There is still a chance and this can still change. As I mentioned, we did the survey a bit earlier compared to the surveys done in the previous elections.)
"Ito ay ginanap kalagitnaan ng Abril hanggang April 21. So kung ikukumpara mo lang 'yung date na ginawa 'yung survey, medyo mas malayo siya dun sa actual election day," he added.
(This survey was done from mid-April until April 21. So, compared to the date of the survey, it is still a bit far from the actual election day.)
"Pwedeng magbago talaga. At hindi mo masasabi kung ano yung mga pagbabago. Mahirap sabihin yun. There are things that we cannot in any way predict. And we still have how many days before May 9."
It is also difficult to compare the results of this survey to previous final pre-election surveys because of different circumstances, Holmes said.
"Mahirap rin ikumpara kasi iba-iba 'yung konteksto ng bawat eleksyon. Kasi hindi naman natin pwedeng sabihin na 'yung kaganapan noong 2004 ay kapareho ng kaganapan ngayon, o noong 2010 at 2016," he said.
(It is difficult to compare because each election has a different context. We cannot say that what happened in 2004 is the same with what's happening now, or in 2010 and 2016.)
"Iba't iba 'yung mga personalidad, iba't iba ang usapin. Sa ngayon, kunwari, wala tayong kandidato na pormal na inendorso ng administrasyon. Kakaiba 'yun," he added.
(We also have different personalities, different issues. Right now, for example, we don't have a candidate that's formally endorsed by the current administration. That's different.)
President Rodrigo Duterte has said he will not endorse any of the 10 presidential candidates. He has, however, endorsed his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Marcos' running mate.
Holmes said the pandemic also makes this election season different from the previous ones.
"Ngayon, nasa ilalim tayo ng pandemya. Nakikita natin, ang labanan sa dalawang lebel eh. Hindi na nga nangunguna 'yung advertisement. Ang nangunguna, balita. At ang pangalawa ay yung tinatawag naming barnstorming, 'yung mga campaign rallies. Kanya-kanyang labanan ng drone shots, 'di ba?" he said.
(We are in a pandemic and we can see the battle on two levels. Advertisements are not that important anymore. The most important now is the news, followed by what we call barnstorming, the campaign rallies. They have their own drone shots.)
"Lumalabas din na mayroon nang kampanya na word of mouth o 'yung sinasabing house-to-house, na sa ibang bansa alam natin malaki ang nagiging impluwensiya sa pagbabago ng desisyon ng mga botante kung sila ay pakikinggan noong mga nagha-house-to-house."
(It also shows that we now have the word-of-mouth campaigning, or the house-to-house. In other countries, we know that this can have a big influence on the decision of a voter if those who make the house-to-house campaign listen to them.)
Nonetheless, Holmes defended the credibility of his firm's survey the results of which are being compared to the number of people attending candidates' rallies.
"The survey covers a random selection of that 65 million (registered voters). So, at least, for that time frame, nung panahong ginawa yung survey, masasabi nating kumakatawan 'to dun sa kabuuan ng lahat ng botante. Maaring ilan dun sa nakausap ay mga pumunta dun sa rally," he said.
(During the time the survey was conducted, we can say this represents the entire voting population. Some of those polled may have even attended those rallies.)
He also addressed observations about high margin of errors in some segments as shown by the survey's socio-demographic breakdown.
"Kasi maliit na yung segment na yun, maliit na yung grupo na yun. So, 'pag maliit yung grupo, lumalaki yung margin of error... The smaller the sample, the larger the margin of error," he explained.
Holmes said the release of their survey results a week before election day does not violate any law.
"Walang legal restriction, kaya madalas, bago mag-eleksyon, hindi lang itong eleksyong ito, ay naglalabas kami ng survey result kahit na isang linggo bago sa darating na halalan," he said.
Pre-election surveys can be considered "snapshots of the moment" and reflect the people's sentiments at the time these were conducted, analysts have explained.
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