THE LONG VIEW
Candidates’ holiday snapshot
By: Manuel L. Quezon III
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:04 AM January 05, 2022
Over the holidays a fellow of OCTA Research sent me some slides from their most recent survey, conducted Dec. 7-12, with a sample size of 1,200 respondents who are registered voters, and a margin of error of ±3 percent. Had elections been conducted during the survey’s fieldwork, the results would have been: Ferdinand Marcos Jr., 54 percent; Leni Robredo, 14 percent; Isko Moreno, 12 percent; Manny Pacquiao, 10 percent, Panfilo Lacson, 5 percent.
I find two of the slides interesting. In one table, OCTA essentially polled to find out what the composition of the “soft” and “hard” voters are. There are five columns in this table. The first three columns can be considered the “soft” voters (1. I will definitely change my choice; 2. I will likely change my choice; and 3. I may change or not change my choice, 50/50.) The fourth and fifth columns may be classified as your “hard” voters.
If you accept these assumptions, then consider: What a candidate would prefer is a higher percentage of hard voters, those who will not or not likely to change their votes. Win or lose, they will vote for the candidate. And a candidate who has a higher percentage of soft voters would most likely see his voters change from survey to survey. What a candidate would then be concerned with is to nail down and remove the malleability of a voter’s preference. Based on the numbers, here is what we are faced with:
Type: Soft votes Hard votes
Marcos: 27% (3+11+13) 73% (24+49)
Robredo: 49% (0+12+37) 50% (25+25)
Moreno: 36% (2+8+26) 65% (27+38)
Pacquiao: 63% (3+25+35) 37% (21+16)
Lacson: 45.01% (.01+15+30) 55%(18+37)
What is interesting here is Marcos’ more or less solid base (73 percent) among the 54 percent voters who prefer him, with Moreno in second place since he has 63 percent hard voters among his 12 percent, while half of the 14 percent who preferred Robredo are equally divided between hard and soft voters.
Thus the solid base of each candidate would be:
Marcos: 39.42% (54×73%)
Robredo: 7% (14×50%)
Moreno: 7.8% (12×65%)
Pacquiao: 3.7% (10×37%)
Lacson: 2.75% (5×55%)
Marcos has quite a solid base. But with several months still left, his core voters could still be whittled down to deny him the 39 percent he needs to be president; while Moreno ironically has a more solid base than Robredo in the OCTA survey. All candidates therefore must convert their soft voters to hard voters and at the same time, poach the soft voters from the other candidates.
The other table deals with the second preference of those polled, in case their preferred candidate is unable to continue for whatever reason. Here we see Moreno being dominant as a second-choice candidate. His strategists will argue it speaks well of the overall non-polarizing nature of his branding. Moreno likewise led with Pulse Asia’s second preference:
Survey: OCTA Pulse Asia
Moreno 21% 23%
Pacquiao 15% 11%
Marcos 14% 11%
Lacson 13% 17%
Robredo 12% 14%
— — 75% 76%
In both surveys, a quarter of the registered voters declined to give a second choice preference because they either refused, didn’t know, or there were no second choices for them. Moreno stands to benefit if anyone abandons his campaign but he would still need to make his campaign resonate more than it does at present.