My-musings

PHILIPPINE ELECTIONS 2022: Survey Results, Cancel Culture, & Campaign Strategies

MAY NANALO NA NGA BA? O MAY PAG-ASA PA? Much as I don’t want to participate in any debates about this election, I just couldn’t help but write something on what I’ve observed as the campaign period progressed leading to the election day less than two months from this publication.

I have to set aside my political preference and simply rekindle my passion for surveys and newsgathering (being an Economics graduate not so long ago), I thought of compiling some of the information that I could personally use to compare with the actual election results come May 9, 2022, while trying to present the facts as fairly as possible.

HERE’S OUR PREVIOUS POST ABOUT THE 2022 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: https://bestlifeqatar.com/2022/01/29/sa-balota-malaya-ka/

SURVEY RESULTS

Pulse Asia Research, Inc. or popularly called Pulse Asia, one of the leading public opinion polling bodies in the Philippines, has been releasing election-related surveys ever since its inception in the early 2000s. They hold a record of high accuracy in terms of their survey results vs actual polling results in the past years, including the recent Duterte win in 2016. This is also the reason why, love it or hate it, the result of their surveys are still viewed with high importance by many political analysts, campaign strategists, and news organizations.

Indeed, survey results may always be contested, especially if the results are not favorable to the one reading them. But to an organization that breathes on numbers, they are (supposed to be) there only to record and report the result of all data that has been collected on the field. Their credibility lies heavily in their use of scientific statistical approaches and methodologies (using samples to represent all regions of the country and the different segments of our society).

CLICK HERE FOR THE COMPLETE RESULT OF PULSE ASIA SURVEY – as of February 2022

Whether we accept it or not, even if we question the method of sampling and data gathering (even the exclusion of segments AB which were explained here, and here, and here), history is telling us that these survey results are almost, if not always, close to reality – at least for the Presidential post (see below reports from 2004-2022). Though given the fact of the developing campaign strategies throughout the years, we still can’t rule out any “possibilities” in the ground.

Pulse Asia Survey for 2004 Presidential Election with GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO winning in the actual Comelec Count at 39.99% against FERNANDO POE JR at 36.51%
Pulse Asia Survey for 2010 Presidential Election with the late BENIGNO AQUINO III winning in the actual Comelec Count at 42.08% against JOSEPH ESTRADA 26.25%
Pulse Asia Survey for 2010 Presidential Election with RODRIGO DUTERTE winning in the actual Comelec Count at 39.01% against MAR ROXAS at 23.45% and GRACE POE at 21.39%
Pulse Asia Survey for 2022 Presidential Election

BUT HOW SHOULD WE ACCEPT THESE SURVEY RESULTS? Use it as a tool for planning and for creating solid strategies. Not only to question the results or the sample size used. I just want to quote what I’ve read about survey sampling as compared to getting medical samples in hospitals where they only get a few blood samples or tissues from one part to study the whole body’s condition (esp those asking why only use 2400 out of the million voters in the country).

ONE INTERESTING FACT ABOUT THE RECENT SURVEY IS THAT 80% of the respondents who will vote for Marcos WILL NOT CHANGE THEIR MIND (as explained in this video). What does it mean? Most of the 60% who initially preferred Marcos have already decided on who to vote for regardless of what will happen until the election (whether it be by pride or by the so-called blind patriotism – which we are seeing in the kind and level of discourse on social media). The fact remains that nobody can change their decisions, as in the words of Pulse Asia Research Director in this video where she said that it is not impossible but it’s statistically improbable (not likely to be true or to happen), unless through some major developments against Marcos.

CANCEL CULTURE

WHY ELECTION SURVEYS ARE A BIG DEAL? Because it can be viewed as both a mind-conditioning strategy or as a tool to get the initial sentiments of the voters. One thing is for sure, the election has become more personal now. And that’s what many of us should consider this while trying to persuade voters to shift to either side.

Cancel culture — the phenomenon of promoting the “canceling” of people, brands, and even shows and movies due to what some consider to be offensive or problematic remarks or ideologies. (https://nypost.com/)

In this election, we saw these gestures usually initiated by supporters rather than imposed by any political parties – probably due to their frustrations or disbelief or even outright dissatisfaction, in defense of their preferred candidates. Whatever the reason may be, this creates a snowball effect on the already growing tension between the poor vs the oligarchs (starting with the ABS-CBN franchise renewal issues, etc), and seeing the other side as peace-loving people yet dictating what others should think and decide.

The Marcos side is usually being associated with the Duterte supporters, the “so-called” online trolls, and the die-hard Marcos supporters. The opposition side – with Robredo on the frontline, is usually associated with the Aquino supporters, the “intellectuals”, and the young voters (recently, even being tied up to the communist rebels).

My side of this cancel culture is that if people are against red-tagging yet they continue to “cancel” people and brands, if people cry foul against a dictatorial form of government yet they are the ones who don’t respect people’s opinion, then that’s creating more relationship problems… further discouraging others to subscribe to your belief and making them adhere even more to their initial preference (probably the reason why others WON’T CHANGE THEIR DECISION NO MATTER WHAT).

However, it’s not only the opposition who was seen using this cancel culture in their campaigning. The administration supporters have also been successful in painting a negative image on some media organizations like ABS-CBN and RAPPLER tainting their credibility with doubt and distrust for their apparent criticisms against the present Administration. Whatever reason or truth they are holding for this belief, what I’m saying is that, a lot of their supporters are being convinced of this. That’s why whatever facts are presented by these media organizations, “some people” won’t accept it right away.

As I mentioned earlier, this election has gone personal and much more emotional… so if the purpose is to persuade people to your belief, “cancelling” them may not be the right way to do it.

CAMPAIGN STRATEGIES

In a society like the Philippines where most people are in the low-income segment, divided by islands and other areas are still unreachable, where the source of information is largely through social media if not through word-of-mouth in some isolated communities, a really well-planned strategy must be in place.

THE CASE OF MARCOS. The soonest that we heard him running for President, we were already introduced to Atty. Vic Rodriguez, a young and very eloquent spokesperson of UniTEAM plus the hosting of popular artist Toni Gonzaga was received well by their supporters. As Pulse Asia President puts it, they were able to rebrand “the son of the late dictator” into someone that’s more appealing to the masses, one who will be the best man to follow the Duterte Administration (anyone EXCEPT those associated with the Aquinos), and will be the new face that will “represent” new hope to many. Coincidentally, their tandem also represents the next generation of Marcos and Duterte in the government which promises a youthful, braver approach than their predecessors. Lastly, the promise of UNITY (the same irrefutable strategy used by the Duterte camp in 2016 using “TAPANG AT MALASAKIT”, which is easy to be understood and accepted by the masses) – because who doesn’t want unity, and who will say unity is bad? Whatever context is in between, still, this strategy has been proven effective up until now.

Then their initial massive gatherings and surveys already depicting the tandem as the leading candidates almost cemented their position at the top of the leader board even at the early stage. With over 50% approval ratings, legit or not, these are figures that aren’t easy to defeat unless the opposition will counter it with a better strategy.

With the lead that they are enjoying right now, it’s understsandable to play safe by guarding the lead and lessening possible mistakes – thus the “no show” on debates and “less talk less mistake” stance on some issues.

THE CASE OF THE OPPOSITION. Aside from being divided into 7 candidates, the opposition will have to deal with the massive lead and popularity while campaigning against each other. In addition to that, the opposition parties are always seen as anti-Duterte which is not popular in the present society (online or offline). Regardless of the negative publicity and the unfavorable opinions of many against the current Administration, Duterte still holds a high approval rating, especially to the masses who believe in his accomplishments more than any form of discredits against him.

With only few days left in the campaign period, the opposition have so much work to do. The only hope as of now is for the growing numbers during the sorties of Robredo to turn into actual votes come election day, their so-called “silent majority” who hasn’t shown any good effects even during Mar Roxas or Defensor-Santiago time, to prove while it is “statistically improbable” that the survey could be wrong this time.

Also, if the campaigning attitude of the opposition supporters will be wiser in dealing with the supporters of the leading candidates, the table could still turn favorably. Remember, this campaign has gone personal and emotional… no longer about facts and figures. And when one confronts another with pride, no one will yield to another and the distance will even grow wider even building walls that will be difficult to break.

LET’S ALL STAY CALM AND VOTE WISELY!

To verify if you are registered and eligible to vote for this 2022 Election, you may verify your name on this link: CERTIFIED LIST OF OVERSEAS ABSENTEE VOTERS REGISTERED IN THE STATE OF QATAR.

Also, for OFWs under the Overseas Absentee Voters category, please watch out for the final announcement and other details of the scheduled voting from April 10-May 9, 2022.

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