Pulse Asia’s just released its October 2005 Ulat ng Bayan Survey with this Media Release on Most Beneficial and Most Inimical Political Scenarios, and Best Person to Lead the Philippines at Present:
Based on a multistage probability sample of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above, Pulse AsiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nationwide survey has a Ã‚Â± 3% error margin at the 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for each of the geographic areas covered in the survey (i.e., Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) have a Ã‚Â± 6% error margin, also at 95% confidence level. Face-to-face field interviews for this project were conducted from October 15-27, 2005.
In a nutshell, here’s what’s interesting (in general, the text is copied from the Pulse Asia Report):
1. 58% want the President to resign, but broken down as follows:
*17% the President resigns followed by a presidential election.
*12% the President resigns and eventually replaced by Vice-President Noli de Castro.
*11% the President resigns and is replaced by a temporary Ã¢â‚¬Å“junta,Ã¢â‚¬Â paving the way for the election of a new president or prime minister.
*11% the resignation of both the President and Vice-President with Senate President Franklin M. Drilon temporarily taking over while preparations are made for a special election.
*8% the President resigns with Vice-President de Castro taking over while preparations are made for a new government under a new charter.
My read: As Pulse Asia says, the only thing more than half seem able to agree on, is they want the President to go. How, however, is closely debated. With the plus or minus three points margin of error, the “special election” scenario, with 17% only does marginally better than all the other scenarios. You could lump together all scenarios that mention the Vice-President and come out with a consensus, of sorts: 20% are OK with the President resigning and the Veep taking over, whether to finish her term or until a new government is established. What is startling is the parity the junta scenario has with the other, individual scenarios.
2. 35% don’t want the President to resign and prefer:
*24% would like the Arroyo administration to continue in power until 2010.
*11% favor the President staying in MalacaÃƒÂ±ang while at the same time charter change is pursued to pave the way for a shift to a parliamentary government would replace the incumbent administration before 2010.
My read: This is the President’s core constituency. Of that constituency, 24% is “hard core”; 11% could, technically, shift their allegiances away from her. This group represents the “tipping point,” in terms of people, the other groups are still trying to court.
3. The President remains most popular in the Visayas but support is declining even there:
60% of Luzon wants her out. 64% of Metro Manilans want the President out. More Visayans want the President out (47%) than want her to remain in power (43%). 61% in Mindanao want her out. On the other hand, 35% in Luzon, 43% in the Visayas, 31% in Mindanao want her to stay.
My read: The Visayas figures bear close scrutiny. Has the President lost the battle in her bailiwick? And what accounts for the disparity between Visayas and Mindanao -do the Cebuanos in Mindanao, for example, feel different from Cebuanos in Cebu (and of course, what of the vast population of Cebuanos in Manila?). I mention Cebu and the Cebuanos because they receive special attention from the President. My theory at this point is that the extremely large number of non-Tagalogs in Metro Manila have an effect (a prejudicial one) on the President’s popularity, either when they travel, call, or text relatives in the provinces. Still, the Visayas remains the bailiwick of the President while she has lost Luzon and Mindanao.
4. What do people consider the worst scenario?
*40% a coup by the military and police (22% a coup takes place, the military and police decide who will rule the country is worst; 18% a scenario where the military and police exercise power themselves is worst).
*28% President Arroyo resigning (8% the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s resignation from office and her replacement by a temporary Ã¢â‚¬Å“juntaÃ¢â‚¬Â is worst; 7% the President and Vice-President resign and the Senate President temporarily leads the country is worst; 5% the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s resignation followed by a special presidential election is worst; and 4% the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s resignation and replacement by the Vice-President or the formerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s resignation, the latterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s exercise of temporary rule, and preparations for a new government under a new constitution as the worst).
*21% President ArroyoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s continued stay in office (12% specifically the Arroyo administrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s continuation in office until 2010 is worst; 9% President ArroyoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s remaining in office while the 1987 Constitution is amended to shift to a parliamentary government before 2010 as the worst).
*11% a foreign governmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s involvement in the political crisis.
My read: More people still think it’s worse for the country if the President quits, than think it’s worse if she hangs on. With the scorched earth governance the President’s doing, the 28% is the magic number in this whole survey; it trumps all the other scenario numbers. More people fear the President’s resignation than see a way out through a snap election, a junta, Constitutional succession, etc. But note, of course because of the way the questions were asked, the lack of a positive reason for the fear. By this I mean: no one seems to view the President’s resignation as awful because they believe her the best, the most qualified, etc. This is something crucial, even if you have to read between the lines to find it. The fear expressed by those viewing the President’s resignation as a disaster is even more atomized than those expressing an opinion on what should be the means to get rid of the President, because they are still a minority. So a majority of the people want the President to go, a large minority want her to stay; the majority is so divided that for now, the minority that want her to stay is more united in what it fears, than what the President’s opponents want.
5. Who should lead the country?
19% Vice-President de Castro (down from 26% in July): most popular in Visayas and Mindanao and Class D and E.
18% No one in particular (up from 9% in July: “sentiment most pronounced in Metro Manila and Class ABC”).
14% Joseph Estrada (up 3 points from July).
13% Panfilo Lacson (down from 21% in July: most popular in Metro Manila and Class ABC).
12% President Arroyo (up 5 points from July).
8% Susan Roces (down from 10% in July)
4% Chief Justice Davide (unchanged from July).
3% Fidel V. Ramos (unchanged from July).
2% Brother Eddie Villanueva (unchanged from July).
My read: How depressing. Never, it seems, except perhaps in the early days of Martial Law, has the country had such a shallow bench of leadership. The “No one in particular” percentage, though, is again, the “tipping point” figure. They’re the ones looking for a leader; if they find someone, chances are the numbers for the others would erode, and some sort of consolidation might take place. The Senate President, Frank Drilon, for one, doesn’t appear in the positive lists; neither do a whole bunch of senators (Mar Roxas, Jun Magsaysay) or any governors or mayors.
6. Who should not lead the country?
40% President Arroyo (-7 percentage points since July).
39% former President Ramos (+14 percentage points since July).
34% Brother Eddie Villanueva (+6 percentage points since July).
29% Susan Roces (+9 percentage points since July; 49% of her fellow Visayans view her as not the choice).
25% Panfilo Lacson (+5 percentage points since July).
20% Joseph Estrada (unchanged).
My read: Odd that the Veep isn’t on this list. Fidel Ramos is sunk, in case anyone doubted it. Antipathy toward Susan Roces, Panfilo Lacson, and Bro. Eddie Villanueva seem insurmountable: they can throw their support to someone, but must do so carefully, as more stand to be antagonized by whatever they do, than will be mobilized by any call they make. Estrada is marginally more unpopular than popular, too; a wild card, but with far greater political strength than the President (for example, if Estrada says jump, 14% will jump, 20% will get angry Estrada said something, meaning he will antagonize 6% more people than he motivates; the President, whatever she does, antagonizes 40% while motivating 12%, a negative factor of 28%).
7. Question and Answer Portion
“In the last elections, President Arroyo won fairly and without cheating.”
Nationally, 17% Agree, 29% Undecided, 52% Disagree, 1% Don’t Know/Refused to Answer (Except for Class E, all other classes have majorities disagreeing).
My read: How strange more of the Class E are in agreement with the attitudes of the Solita Monsods of this world.