Analysis: Election surveys just a snapshot of the time they were conducted

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2021 04:15 AM

MANILA—Election surveys can be considered "snapshots of the moment" and reflect the people's sentiments at the time the surveys were conducted, analysts explained.

Prof. Dindo Manhit, founder and managing director of Stratbase ADR Institute, explained that in the recent Social Weather Systems (SWS) survey Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio's name was not included in the list of presidential candidates, and that could have contributed to former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s lead in the survey results.

"Siguro noong tinanggal ang pangalang Sara Duterte ay napunta 'yung boto kay Bongbong Marcos. Parang mayroon talagang klarong alyado sila," he told Teleradyo.

(Probably when we removed Sara Duterte's name, the votes for her went to Bongbong Marcos. It's like it was clear that they have an alliance.)

"'Yun 'yung aking analysis kasi tinitingnan naman natin ang mga numero, kasi kagulat gulat na from 18 percent, biglang pumalo si dating Senador Marcos Jr."

(That's may analysis because if you look at the numbers, it's surprising that from 18 percent, the numbers suddenly went up for former senator Marcos Jr.)

Marcos got 47 percent among respondents polled by the SWS October 20 to 23, followed by Vice-President Leni Robredo, with 18 percent.

But in a similar survey by Pulse Asia in September, Duterte-Carpio led the list with 20 percent, followed by Marcos with 15 percent.

For Manhit, it is a matter of whether Marcos can sustain this lead.

"Ang katanungan diyan ay can he sustain this? Kasi baka noong nabalita, alam nilang hindi tatakbo si Mayor Sara sa pagkapangulo, biglang pumalo ang machine, makinarya, either media, propaganda machine ng dating Senador Marcos and they were able to capture 'yung vacuum," he explained.

(The question is can he sustain this? Because maybe when news about Mayor Sara not running for president broke, maybe his machinery, either media or the propaganda machine of former senator Marcos started working and they were able to capture the vacuum.)

For the vice presidential candidates, Manhit said Senate President Vicente Sotto III must work harder if he wants to maintain his lead.

"Kailangan maghanda ni Senator Sotto at mas puspusin pa niya ang kaniyang kampanya kasi at this time si Mayor Sara, baka doubtful pa ang supporters niya," he said.

(Senator Sotto has to prepare and work harder on his campaign because at this time, Mayor Sara's supporters may still have doubts.)

Sotto topped the survey, with 44 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him.

Duterte-Carpio is in second place with 25 percent, followed by Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and cardiologist Willie Ong with 13 percent each.

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Manhit, whose group commissioned the latest SWS survey, said that survey showed people's perception at the moment it was conducted, and it can change depending on what will happen next.

"Ang sabi ko nga, surveys simply tell us, 'Ano ba ang pananaw ng tao at that moment?' Pero ang pinakaimportanteng desisyon, 'yung actual election day. Diyan papasok kapag batikan ka," he explained.

(As I've said, surveys simply tell us what people think at that moment. But the most important decision happens on election day. This is where seasoned politicians may have an advantage.)

For Prof. Jean Franco of University of the Philippines, the current survey results show that Marcos is the candidate to beat, but there is a lot that can still happen until election day.

"Well, the perception is matagal na siyang nag-prepare, tapos he ran 6 years ago for vice president and almost won, so that's probably the explanation. But VP Leni is catching up, although malayo pa naman. Malayo 'yung lamang ni Marcos Jr., at malayo pa naman din 'yung eleksyon so mahirap pa ring mag-ano, it's still anybody's game," Franco said.

(The perception is that he has been preparing for a long time, and he even ran for vice president six years ago and almost won, so that's probably the explanation. But VP Leni is catching up, although we still have a long way to go. Marcos Jr., is leading by a considerable number, but the election is still far away so it's still anybody's game.)

Franco said Marcos' opponents have to lay down concrete reasons why he should not win, and go beyond the fact that he is the son of a dictator.

"Alam naman natin na napakaraming resources ni Marcos Jr., so hindi siya kailan man magiging underdog. Kaya lang, kailangan din sigurong 'yung mga kumakalaban sa kanya, kailangang ilatag nang maayos na kung bakit hindi siya dapat ihalal at dapat sila ang ihalal. Hindi lang dahil doon sa anak siya ni Ferdinand Marcos, kundi kailangan mag-offer sila ng panibangong naratiba. Of course, hindi natin pwedeng kalimutan 'yung martial law, 'yung mga human rights violations, pero kailangang i-reframe din na maging mahalaga siya sa present situation ng nakararaming Filipino," she said.

(We know that Marcos Jr. has a lot of resources so he will never be considered an underdog. However, his opponents should also lay down concrete reasons why he shouldn't win, and why they should win instead. Not only because he is the son of Ferdinand Marcos, but they should offer a new narrative. Of course we should not forget martial law, the human rights violations, but this should be reframed to make it relevant to the present situation of the majority of Filipinos.)

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The Commission on Elections has yet to finalize the list of presidential aspirants for the May 9, 2022 elections. Official campaign period for those seeking national posts will only begin on February 8 next year.