By Herbert Vego
ACCORDING to the latest OCTA Research survey on voter preference for president, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos is further soaring as the top choice, garnering 55% of unidentified respondents. Panting way behind on second spot is Vice President Leni Robredo with 15%, and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on third with 11%.
Not to be outdone, Pulse Asia (jokingly called “False Asia”) gives Marcos a higher 60%, followed by Robredo with 16%, Moreno and Senator Manny Pacquiao tied on third with eight percent.
The oldest pollster, Social Weather Station (SWS), probably wants to look more believable by reducing Marcos’ number to 50%, followed far behind by Robredo with 19 percent, and Moreno and Senator Manny Pacquiao who tied on 3rd with 11 percent each.
Presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio is the unanimous survey leader for the vice-presidency, getting 50% from Pulse Asia, 44% from SWS and 43% from Octa.
For the purpose of analysis, let us focus on the presidency without naming most of the 10 presidential aspirants who know they have no chances of winning.
The first question that comes to mind: Assuming the surveys to be accurate, what has the “junior” of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos done to merit the majority or 60% of Pulse Asia’s survey respondents?
Until his loss to Robredo in the 2016 vice-presidential race, he had been governor, congressman and senator in forgotten number of years, with nothing but forgettable achievements to brag about.
Octa Research fellow Guido David defended the surveys without delving into specifics in an interview with the Daily Inquirer (Feb. 23, 2022 issue): “If your candidate is lagging in the surveys, then that means that there should be more work done to promote this candidate. Instead of saying that the survey must be wrong, we should flip the question and ask why people are choosing other candidates.”
Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes seemed to disagree when he told the Philippine Star (Feb. 24 issue), “The proliferation of surveys that are really unreliable give a bad name to survey research.”
Political analyst Dindo Manhit – representing the research firm Stratbase ADR Institute — sees the possibility of “a Marcos landslide” due to the combined forces of two powerful families descending from strongmen Ferdinand Sr. and outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte.
Unfortunately, the same argument could also support the “never again” views of disgruntled citizens who now make up the tens of thousands of warm bodies swarming VP Leni’s campaign sorties nationwide. Have none of them been counted among the alleged 1,200 to 2,400 survey respondents?
Stratbase ADR, incidentally, is recognized as the “paymaster” behind the SWS surveys.
That reminds us of the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago who, while running for President in May 2016, asked the faculty and students of the University of the Philippines-Mindanao, “Why is it that when universities are asked from left to right, it is Miriam? But if commercial surveys are conducted, I’m not even there.”
Today’s surveys done by universities and colleges sustain Miriam’s observation on the credibility of school surveys with identifiable responders. A case in point is the February survey done by Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), the national association of Catholic educational Institutions in the Philippines, which showed Robredo getting 1,624 votes or 52.57 percent out of a total of 3,089 responses from students, school heads and administrators; Marcos Jr. with 24.54 percent or 758 votes; and Moreno on third with 9.61 percent or 297 votes. The rest of the 10 candidates got less than three percent each.
Robredo’s running mate Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan topped the CEAP’s vice-presidential survey race with 30.37 percent or 938 votes, besting runner-up Sara Duterte with 26.84 percent or 829 votes.
Harassments done by local officials to sway student opinion have turned into embarrassments. This was the message conveyed by the aborted motorcade planned by the local government of Passi City for the Bongbong-Sara “uniteam”.
It earned parents’ disgust after the city scholars had accused the local government of threatening to suspend their scholarships should they not show up for the motorcade.
In contrast, the Leni-Kiko rally at the Iloilo Sports Complex in Iloilo City packed an estimated 40,000 warm bodies. Similar crowds elsewhere cast doubt on the legitimacy of contradictory survey results.
Common sense tells us that the so-called “scientific methodology” used in polling the faceless 1,200 to 2,400 interviewees – assuming they exist — could not feel the pulse of 67 million Filipino voters.
If you say you have not been surveyed so far, just like me, let’s hope instead for our participation in the May 9, 2022 elections, and for our votes to be counted.