Second leg

digging up old issues

Free Press editorial cartoon, circa 1965.

In a sense, the campaign is over for many voters: at least, this is the impression I get. The surveys seem to agree that the undecided number about 6% of the electorate, which can make or break the chances of either of the leading candidates. The campaigning then, as it enters the middle period (the home stretch comes after Holy Week), focuses on three things: keeping the base, chipping away at the base of other opponents, and convincing the undecided. But the respective bases of the two leading candidates seem to be fairly stable and much as the campaign has taken an increasingly aggressive tone, the bases don’t seem to be shifting so much. This makes for a campaign in which those bases will probably tend to tune out, having made up their minds.

This is particularly true because the big push for many candidates took place before the official campaign even began: in the November-February period.

Normally, the formalities surrounding party conventions and the nomination of official candidates was supposed to take place in January, followed immediately by the presidential campaign itself in February. Because of automation, the filing of candidacies was moved to November and there was supposed to be an artificial hiatus until February, except the Supreme Court decided there would be no hiatus so to speak, which meant that essentially an extended pre-campaign period took place from October to February.

This was particularly crucial for the candidates in terms of TV and radio advertising. See the Pera’t Pulitika cover letter to Ricky Carandang, explaining its data, and see the Pera’t Pulitika data on November-February ad spending and February-March spending with legal limits kicking in (you can compare these figures with the Nielsen Index report on ad minutes for the 2004 candidates).

In chronological order, here are the latest surveys.

I. The first reported out was Pulse Asia, February 21-25, 2010 (released March 5, 2010):


The survey tells us that at the time it was conducted, Aquino enjoyed an overall 7 point lead over Villar nationally; leading in the NCR (16 pts.), Balance Luzon (2 pts.), Mindanao (19 pts.) and very slightly in the Visayas (1 pt.); and among Class ABC (8 pts.), Class D (8 pts.) and Class E (3 pts.)

This was remarkable because it answered two questions pending since the January surveys:

1. Would either of the main contenders show a game-winning trajectory? From his earlier, spectacular, numbers, Aquino has settled on a percentage in the high 30’s; after a herculean effort, Villar shot up but seems to have lost some steam. If, however, Aquino had slid and Villar, in turn, had actually overtaken Aquino, then a bandwagon effect might have been created. But neither before, when the resources that could be poured into the effort were limitless, and since, when a much more strategic effort is required, has Villar managed to actually overtake the frontrunner.

2. Did the C-5 Controversy have any effect? It seems it has.

See the following:


II. Next came the Manila Standard Today survey,February 20-26, 2010:

Again in terms of plotting the trajectory of the candidates, see the following:


This survey has a wealth of interesting data (see also messaging section below): it tells us Aquino leads Villar in the NCR (9 pts.), in South Luzon (7 pts.), in the Visayas (5 pts.), in Mindanao (3 pts.) and among Economic Class ABC (6 pts.), Economic Class D (4 pts.), Age Group 18-24 (2 pts.), Age Group 35-44 (12 pts.), Catholic Voters (4 pts.), Born Again Voters (2 pts.), among Urban Voters (9 pts.), among Female Voters (4 pts.) and barely ahead among Male Voters (1 pt.).

Villar leads in North Luzon (9 pts.), among Economic Class E (2 pts.), and among Age Group 25-34 (3 pts.), Age Group 45+ (1 pt.), among Iglesia ni Cristo Voters (12 pts.), Aglipayan Voters (11 pts.), Protestant Voters (12 pts.), Voters with “Other” Religious Affiliations (6 pts.), Muslim Voters (6 pts.) and among Rural Voters (2 pts.).

III. And finally, Social Weather Stations, February 24-28, 2010, which used the simulated ballot for the first time.

SWS Bworld Aquio Villar Feb 24 to 28
In terms of the two leading contenders, Aquino leads in the NCR (by 22 pts.), Visayas (5 pts.), and Mindanao (2 pts.), and Class D (the largest class, by 4 pts.); Villar leads in Balance Luzon (4 pts.), among Class ABC (3 pts.) and Class E (2 pts.).

SWS Bworld Estrada Teodoro Feb 24-28

SWS Bworld Villanueva Gordon Feb 21 to 28

SWS Bworld Others Feb 24 to 28

(see also Marichu Lambino)

Background reading

The real contenders and Why SWS Presidential Survey Does Not Add Up To 100% But 300%, both October 14, 2009;

The blog Alphanumeric makes for interesting reading, see Pulse Asia: Preferences for Presidentiables January 2010 Update and Pulse Asia: Preferences for Presidentiables February 2010 Update.

As for the use of surveys to test political messages, see Arroyo pollster commissioned SWS to test political messages, April 27, 2006.

While the Pulse Asia survey tells us the main divisions are between those voting on the basis of a candidate not having a corruption record and those putting forward caring for the poor:


It’s interesting that the Manila Standard Today survey (run by the same fellow who used to undertake in-house surveys for the President) asks a lot of questions focusing on messaging. Look at the slides on voter conversion, on their awareness and favorability, and their slogans, and so forth.

Manila Standard Today Feb 21 to 26 Survey

See also the following interesting slides: Second choices of already-committed voters (i.e. if Estrada were to drop out, his vote would be split between Aquino and Villar; if Teodoro dropped out, more of his votes would go to Villar than Aquino, etc.); Levels of commitment of voters to their candidates.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

20 thoughts on “Second leg

  1. Maybe we should ask whether they’re all polling the same country. Each of these polls probably is legitimate and useful in its own way, but you have to say they’re describing slightly different parts of the human landscape.

  2. It seems that Noynoy is consistently polling ahead, despite dropping down to earthbound percentages. But his campaign must be somehow pushing the panic button, because it is going more and more negative. While most of the leading candidates try to put out a positive message, Noynoy’s has been busy slinging mud.

    From the initial attempts to mimic Obama and his message of “hope and change”, the Noynoy campaign machinery has decided to go the Karl Rove route at this point. This only indicates that Noynoy, unlike Obama, doesn’t have what it takes to inspire and motivate the Filipino people. The Obama ploy was just a gimmick, and it has become quite obvious.

  3. Obama is a pussy…he’s just a salesman in disguise…all talk…when it comes down to who is the better man, Noynoy will win face down – jsut put them together in an actual gunfight and you’ll see…

  4. Noynoy’s campaign handlers did attempt to spin him as our Obama. But, since Noynoy doesn’t have the intellectual and oratorical skills of Obama, the ploy has fallen flat on its face. Now they’re attempting to copy Karl Rove, going negative and bringing out the mud.

    They’re even begging Tito Danding to come out openly for Noynoy, hoping he can bring his bunch of trapos and toadies to toe the line. This is a gangster, mind you, whom Noynoy’s own mother once accused of plundering the coconut industry and masterminding her husband’s murder.

    Hope and change? It’s more like politics as usual. Noynoy’s campaign handlers look more like they’re trying to cobble together a “rainbow coalition” of pillagers and trapos that would make Joe de Venecia look like a novice by comparison.

  5. one wonders what, exactly of the karl rove playbook you think is relevant here, since it’s the palace that has mastered and studiously applied it. then again of course it would seem negative to focus on precisely the things that ought to be considered when it comes to certain contenders -like c-5. and again who of most going positive is probably difficult to spell out, because most means nearly all and who then could they be, supposedly trying to put out a message more positive than that put forward by aquino?

  6. “But the respective bases of the two leading candidates seem to be fairly stable and much as the campaign has taken an increasingly aggressive tone, the bases don’t seem to be shifting so much.”-MLQ3

    Manolo, which results are you using to make such an inferrence. The SWS showed that there was a 19% point difference in December which got wittled down to a 2% point spread. This was facilitated by a 10% pt drop by Aquino and a corresponding climb of 7% pts by Villar in the same period. It hardly qualifies as “stable” to me unless you are referring to Aquino’s consistent lead(?).

    On the other hand, I find Aquino’s drop among the ABC income group from 52 down to 30% a bit hard to believe(!). What accounts for this? I noticed that none of the other candidates picked up the 22% pts that were shed. Something seems remiss in these figures!!!

  7. The Karl Rove playbook is obvious. The Noynoy campaign even resuscitated their version of Karl Rove in Serge Osmena. A pitiful copy if I may add.

    Noynoy’s flip-flopping on issues is also as obvious. Like a political butterfly, he can’t seem to make up his mind on what his stand on issues are. He has flip-flopped on amending his mother’s Constitution. He has flip-flopped on his authorship of the Reproductive Health Act. He has mouthed motherhood statements against corruption, and yet has embraced, and asked the support of, one of the most corrupt plunderers in the history of the Philippines, his own uncle, Danding Cojuangco. In a recent rally, Kris Aquino has promised to bring Danding out to campaign for Noynoy. Hope and change? Or politics as usual?

  8. referring to since the campaign officially kicked off on feb. 9. the leadership position has been maintained, despite the massive blitz. like i said in my entry the question in the firs month of the campaign was whether pole position would be taken away or not. with regards to your other point it could be the undecided portion that held consistent but was sweleld by abc’s shifting there, you can look further at the numbers.

  9. curious, still, about your definition of what constitutes the general republican playbook (or the karl rove playbook). the most obvious example is, of the two leading contender, one published his platform clearly delineating his intention to undo/fix the harm done by the incumbent; the other leading contender has no published platform and therefore, can’t be held to anything since there is nothing to hold him to. with regards to specific (but non-specific) assertions you made, the statements on the constitution seem to be consistent since his senate bid in 07. you cannot flip flop on authorship. either you’re an author or you’re not. you can also refer to his statements on these cases and other similar ones in the mbc forum. and all these in comparison to whom and what?

  10. Noynoy talks about undoing the harm of the incumbent, yet embraces toadies of the incumbent, such as Ralph Recto. His family acts as his advisers, yet most of them, such as Paul Aquino, Tessie Oreta, Peping Cojuangco, Tingting Cojuangco and Lupita Kashiwahara are on the payroll of Malacanang. How credible can those claims about undoing the harm of the incumbent be? What Noynoy says and what he does are altogether different things. Like not letting the right hand know what the left hand is doind. Well, you know what Lincoln said about fooling all the people all of the time.

    As for the Reproductive Health law, it is on record that Noynoy has flip-flopped on this. First he claimed he was totally for it and even claimed partial authorship. When the Catholic Church turned on the heat, he backed off. Even denying he had a hand in it. This guy wants to be on the right side of every issue, even if he has to pussyfoot his way to do it. 🙂

  11. A bit off topic but how do you think the automation of elections is undoing some of the legacies of our being a pre-industrial, feudalistic democratic society, ie, rent-seeking, guns, goons, and gold?

    If automation is unhackable, then as far as I can see, it nullifies the inherent advantages of incumbent administrations or candidates with deep pockets or shoddy sponsors. Because with automation, wholesale cheating can’t be achieved and one man, one vote truly applies?

  12. I mean, it doesn’t matter is a candidate is battered by a barrage of Manny/Noynoy ads or if a voter from the provinces he/she can’t be bullied or intimidated into voting for a certain candidate because at the ballot he can change his/her vote to the candidate of his/her liking and we can be rest assured this vote will count?

  13. I don’t know where you got the Lupita part. She most definitely is not for her nephew and is quite categorical about it. Paul Aquino does not work for the government anymore. People are people for the same reason that the Laurels in the main are for Villar but Lally Laurel-Trinidad is vocally for Aquino. Recto for all his faults left the administration after clashing with Angie Reyes. So one starts with whether people have decided to stick it out with the administration or leave it, which is as basic and public an expression of intent as any. With regards to RH, again in the context of what? If you contend he has moderated his stance, then he remains the last backer of that ill-fated bill after Villar and Teodoro did a total reversal of their support -to court the support of the Church. And if you look at Aquino’s insistence on distinguishing between authorship and support of the overall policy point of the bill -that there is a population problem- he has maintained that and in fact set himself up for a confrontation with the Church down the line, as he’s pointed out the need for sex education, which the Church isn’t keen about. These thing’s don’t take place in a vacuum so if you’d like to pursue that line then at least begin with those who totally reversed themselves instead of finding a way, as Aquino says he’s trying, to find a path that that does not make Catholic doctrine state doctrine but takes into account the sensibilities of religions in a heated issue.

  14. I think the key here is that while locally, directly bribing voters remains viable, it’s long been viewed as a waste of resources nationally-speaking. In the first place political machines are less effective nationally for many reasons ranging from the focus of the really effective machines being local and if you expect obedience in one thing, you grant concessions in another: so a machine politician locally will zealously insist on local voters voting for him, but be less strict nationally, psrticularly if he views the national candidate affiliated with him as not particularly viable anyway or his previous calculations were wrong; very easy to take the money and run as marcos found out in 1986, mitra in 92 and jdv in 98. 1986 was when dagdag bawas was inaugurated even as it was in many respects the last hurrah of actual ballot-stuffing on a national scale. in 2004 we saw how the strategy employed was on more than one level: first, ensure as few of the voters inclined to vote against you get to vote at all; second, inflate, fractionally, your vote everywhere and reduce, fractionally, your opponents’ votes preserving the expected outcomes in many areas but overall affecting the outcome; and third, if this fails then resort to more extreme measures, except they were so sloppily done it was eventually exposed.

    going into may, the question then is even if you assume automation is cheat-proof (and not everyone agrees), will it be nationwide? in his column today former chief justice panganiban points out the implications of a mere 10% of the machines failing/conking out, etc. the comelec itself said 30% might be possible as a failure rate. on one hand i don’t see how anyone expects that national candidates won’t be affected by the usual tactics in warlord-dominated places like maguindanao where the results has nothing to do with actual voter sentiment; the usual tactic of disenfranchisement (people discovering they can’t vote) will be compounded by people being unfamiliar with the clustered precincts system, confusion over valid id’s, and people on their own giving up from waiting in line or finding where to vote, which gives an edge to those who bring their voters to the precinct or, conversely, pay people not to vote at all, giving them merienda and so forth in warehouses until the polls close; lawyers and so forth used to the omnibus election code are going to have a devil of a time figuring out the new rules and how to question results with the results, in automated places, being transmitted first and bogged down in questioning in congress later: where, if the questioning becomes protracted, plays into a potential constitutional crisis if no proclamation can be made. so to put it another way, one country two systems: granted if we assume automation is better, it will be partial automation and the results overshadowed by the non-automated part.

  15. “With his latest turnaround on the reproductive health bill and his matching denial that he was ever one of the principal authors of the controversial bill, Liberal Party candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is proving to all and sundry that he deserves the title “Denial King” being conferred to him by his critics.

    The about-face of the presidential candidate on the reproductive health bill is understandable after the Catholic bishops warned him that he should not count on the support of the Church if he continues supporting the bill.

    Aquino, who has been slowly but surely sliding in recent surveys, cannot afford to alienate the Church which forms one of his major support groups. If he loses the support of the members of the Catholic hierarchy, then his chances of winning the May 10 presidential elections will become dimmer.

    However, it was unnecessary to deny that he was one of the bill’s principal authors considering that he signed as a co-author of the bill in the Senate.” – Alvin Capino, Feb. 2, 2010

  16. Noynoy encouraged the thought that he was a strong supporter of the Reproductive Health Bill. I know of three or four blogsites which actually mentioned that NoyNoy during stops in the Visayas had mentioned authorship of the RH bill. Only when the bishops’ strong opposition appear that NoyNoy made more clear that he was not RH author. Then after that, he repeated the CBCP line — “parental responsibility”.

    NOTE: NoyNoy’s “parental responsibility”-mantra does not address teen-age sex, same-sex sex nor does “parental responsibility” address sex-education and condoms to slow down the spread of HIV/AIDS.

  17. please link those sites. as i previously said, parential responsibility is one aspect, the other which is galling to the church, is sex education. and as for your candidate, what is his or her stand on the bill? hat is your opinion on that? because he is the last one standing on any support whatsoever for the bill since the others immediately reversed themselves completely.

  18. I wouldn’t hold Noynoy’s or any candidate’s feet to the fire concerning contraception issue as the consensus is economic prosperity and religiosity are more the main drivers to women’s fertility rates.

    Richer nations make less babies and more religious ones make more. Want women to make less babies? Increase prosperity and promote Richard Dawkins.

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