A week before the deadline for the filing of senatorial candidacies, the clincher for some aspirants might be the latest Pulse Asia survey on senatorial preferences.
The names, and their rankings, are interesting. Basically, let’s consider the top 20 (Legarda to Biazon) names as those that are seriously in play for the campaign.
Or are they? This is a misleading list, because it measures possible, and not certain, candidacies. The list includes names submitted to it by clients but not names that emerge spontaneously from the electorate. This list is interesting because you can see who thought it worth their while to see (or have someone see) how they might do in an election, were it held today.
Some things might be inferred: showbiz candidates are weaker than the Palace thinks; affiliation with showbiz can’t account for everything: why would Pangilinan be several notches above Recto? Is it just that Sharon has more clout than Vilma? Could Pangilinan’s declaration the President ought to resign be a factor, along with the rest to explain why he is rating higher than the risk-averse Recto?
Note from the above that there are two figures in play: “Awareness,” and “Voting For.” As a public relations professional explained it to me, the relationship between the two works as follows. Let’s take Senator Angara:
Edgardo “Ed” J. Angara Aware: 92 Voting For: 24.0
Basically, this means that 92% of voters already know who he is; that of those polled, 24% or slightly under a quarter of the voters, intend to vote for him. We can infer that he has just about reached the peak of his potential as a candidate. The most he could gain -if there was ever such a thing as 100% awareness- is 8%, for a total of 32% of the vote (and that’s a big if), which means he could only aspire to bumping off Alan Peter Cayetano.
But this requires several miracles: first, 100% awareness; second, 100% of the voters hitherto unaware of him; third, that 100% of those already inclined to vote for him don’t change their minds.
Gilbert Remulla, for example, with a 54% awareness level but 10.9% voting for preference, can go much higher with a respectable basis of support. Gilbert Teodoro is known only to 27% of voters, of whom 1.2% would vote for him: he has nowhere to go but up, too; although the uphill climb for those without resources such as Adel Tamano and Randy David would have made their candidacies practically impossible.
The PR expert suggested that those poring over these survey results would conclude, instead, that Angara is nowhere near the strength he should have considering he doesn’t have much more to aspire to, in terms of voter awareness. That in fact, he will probably have nowhere to go but down -unless he counts, as he does, on government machinery.
The list of those really in play hasn’t been announced yet. The real gauge of who is in play, or not, will be the first survey taken immediately after the deadline for filing candidacies, when the public knows who are seriously running or not.
Update: Philippine Commentary says I got it all wrong (which may indeed be more likely than the PR person I talked to having no clue). I personally don’t see the difference between the two explanations!