If the elections were held today, the oligarch Noynoy Aquino is most likely going to emerge as the winner.
The Jan 2010 Release of the SWS National Survey showed that
The special SWS December 27-28, 2009 national survey, sponsored by San Juan Representative Ronaldo Zamora, asked the question: “Sa mga sumusunod na pangalan sa listahang ito, sino po ang malamang ninyong iboboto bilang PRESIDENTE ng Pilipinas, kung ang eleksyon ay gaganapin ngayon?” [Among the names found in this list, who will you probably vote for as PRESIDENT of the Philippines, if elections were held today?].
From a list showing the names of Benigno Aquino III and Manuel Villar, Jr. only, 52% chose Aquino and 44% chose Villar [Table 1]. The same list was tested in the October 1-4, 2009 survey, commissioned by Ms. Avic Amarillo, which found 65% for Aquino and 28% for Villar.
Four other scenarios were also tested in the December 2009 survey.
From a list showing 7 names without Joseph Estrada Ejercito, 49% chose Aquino, 38% Villar, 6% Teodoro, 2% Villanueva, 1% Gordon, 1% Madrigal, and 0.3% De Los Reyes [Table 2].
From a list of 7 names without Gilberto Teodoro, Jr., 45% chose Aquino, 35% Villar, 14% Estrada, 2% Gordon, 2% Villanueva, 1% Madrigal, and 0.4% De Los Reyes [Table 3].
From a list of showing Benigno Aquino III, Gilberto Teodoro, Jr., and Manuel Villar, Jr., 50% chose Aquino, 40% Villar, and 7% Teodoro [Table 4].
From a list of showing Benigno Aquino III, Joseph Estrada Ejercito, and Manuel Villar, Jr., 47% chose Aquino, 37% Villar, and 14% Estrada [Table 5].
The December 27-28, 2009 survey used face-to-face interviews of 2,100 adults, for an error margin of ±2.2%. The October 1-4, 2009 survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults, for an error margin of ±3%.
The “sensitivity” analysis revealed that no matter the mix of candidates, Noynoy emerged on top, IF the elections were held today.
But there’s more to this than meets the eye.
The choice of grouping is very interesting. It appears to ask “if the marketing mix of the campaign themes were calibrated such that the focus of each were only on the personalities mentioned in the survey, what will be the outcome?”
The next interesting question to ask would then be, “what is the ideal marketing mix of themes that has the best chance of success? ”
Let’s try to make sense of the numbers – and what they imply.
I will refer to the conditions measured by each table as a scenario. Thus Table 1 can be interpreted as a measure of Scenario 1, Table 2 as Scenario 2, so on and so forth.
Scenario 1 – Aquino versus Villar
The first table is presented below:
1-1. Noynoy Aquino can get a mandate if Villar is his only opponent. (Table 1 – Aquino-52%, Villar-44%).
1-2. The number of undecided decreased from 6% to 4%. This is a clear indication of polarization.
1-3. Preference for Noynoy decreased by 13% in a three month period (Oct-Dec). Villar had an 8% increase during the period
1-4. People CAN be convinced not to vote for Noynoy (obviously they can be convinced to switch as shown by the 13% decrease in preference. Whether this trend has bottomed out remains to be seen.
1-5. If the downward trend for Noynoy continues, as Villar chips through Aquino’s lead, the position can be reversed with Villar getting 60% by May.
Scenario 2 -Without Estrada
If the COMELEC’s decision allowing Erap Estrada to run were reversed, the outcome will most likely be similar to Table 2. Of course, if the elections were held today and Erap is no longer running most likely Noynoy still wins. However, a mandate will still be elusive and Aquino’s staff better be ready to deal with the fact that Noynoy will be a minority president.
2-1. Compared to Table 1, Aquino was down 3 points at 49% while Villar’s went farther south by 6 points. A 9% drop for the top 2.
2-2. 14% of voters will not vote for either Aquino or Villar.
2.3. Assuming the downward trend of Aquino continues and Villar maintains a steady upward pace, the roles can again be reversed by May, Villar at 53% – Aquino at 33%.
Scenario 3 – without Teodoro.
At worst, Noynoy’s lowest score is 45% – Scenario 2 – IF TEODORO IS NOT IN THE RUNNING.
Fortunately for Aquino, Teodoro (read.. public’s punching bag – fall guy for Arroyo) is in the running.
3-1. Villar is also affected by a Teodoro withdrawal. Manny will have a 9% decrease – lower than Noynoy’s 7% decrease.
3-2. Aquino and Villar, together, will have a 16% decrease in voter preference if Teodoro withdrew. This implies, that at least a quarter of the top 2’s base is made of people who choose Aquino or Villar due primarily to their anti-GMA position.
3-3. Gordon experienced a one point bump. This implies voters who prefer Teodoro’s ability are comfortable with Gordon’s executive ability as well.
3-4. So, if the election were held today, Aquino will still not have a mandate nor a true majority (more than 50%) by any means, but Aquino will win just the same. However, Aquino will be a minority president.
3-5. Without Gibo, if Aquino’s downward trend continues and Villar’s upward movement is sustained, Villar can get 51% by May, while Aquino is kept to 25% of total.
Scenario 4 – Aquino/Villar/Teodoro
If this were a three party race and the election were held today Aquino still wins and he will most likely have a majority as parts of the undecided might swing towards his way.
4-1. Teodoro’s presence had a minimal downward movement on the preference for the top 2. Compared to Table 1, the decrease was only 2% from Aquino and 4% from Villar or only 6% total.
4-2. If Aquino’s downward movement continues and Villar’s upward push is sustained, the roles can be reversed by May with Aquino at 35% and Villar at 56%.
Scenario 5 – Aquino/Estrada/Villar
The bad news is Erap still has a pull – approximately 14%.
The good news is his base is no longer as huge as it used to be.
Thank goodness, muntik akong pinawisan ng maraming singot.
5-1. Estrada’s presence led to a decrease of voter preference for Aquino by 5%, and 9% from Villar, a total of 14% reduction for the top 2 candidates.
5-2. If Aquino’s downward movement continues and Villar’s upward push is sustained, the roles can be reversed by May with Villar at 46% and Aquino at 29%-31%.
5-3. Erap’s base will be intact at 14%
What Can Be Made Out of This SWS Dec 2009 Survey Results?
Are you still with me? You better, because am not… Just kidding 🙂
Having gone through all that, it will be fair to conclude that:
1. It is no rocket science and we don’t need a statistics PhD to tell us that, if the election were held today, Aquino will be the likely winner with at least 45% to 52% of votes cast.
2. Since the race is a plurality, Aquino will have the highest number of votes, but he will not have a true majority (50%+1) – he will be a minority president.
3. With the entry of candidates other than Villar and Aquino, voters WHO DO NOT PREFER Aquino ranged from 48% to 55% of total voters. If Noynoy inherits Cory’s incompetency, he can also wind up inheriting the coup d’ etats that plagued the notoriously inept Aquino administration.
4. Given additional choices, there are voters who do change preferences as shown by the fact that the entry of other candidates (Tables 2-5) , when compared to an Aquino-Villar race only (Table 1) led to a reduction in voter preference for both Aquino and Villar.
5. Villar had a setback with Aquino’s instant candidacy after Cory’s wake. The euphoria and the sympathy votes appear to be waning as more issues come to the fore as shown by the 13% decrease from October-December.
6. Despite the C-5 issue, Villar has been trending upwards.
7. Doubts about Noynoy’s ability, performance, people-behind-Aquino, stance on Hacienda Luisita are being discussed. It does not help that Noynoy has been avoiding the issue and has come out sounding like a weasel. Aquino can have the cheesiest tear jerking ad. But such an ad sounds so phoney given the depth of suffering and misery in Hacienda Luisita. The argument is simple really – if you cannot clean your own backyward, why will I trust you to clean mine? or that of my neighbors? By coming with pronouncements only now but not acting when it was needed most – Aquino is seen as an opportunist.
8. The election is still 9 months away and roles can be reversed. Villar can re-emerge as the frontrunner garnering anywhere from 46% to 56% in a plurality.
9. Gordon, Reyes, and Perlas don’t have a chance.
The Triumph of Winnability, Death of Ability, Abortion of the Meritocracy
Gordon is the best candidate – at the wrong time. He has the ability and track record. What I don’t like with Gordon is that he has not come up with a substantiated platform that outlines his position on the issues of the day. Senator Dick, If you are courting people’s votes, please come down from Mount Olympus and provide a platform. People are busy earning a living and will need precious time just to search for your pronouncements scattered all over the net. More candidates are stepping up, please show that you are on top of this. hile there is no arguing the success of Subic’s turnaround – it does not necessarily translate to being the best candidate for President. The Peter Principle can come in anytime and voila – stuff can hit the ceiling fan and it will not look good. Character-wise Gordon’s handling of the recent hostage negotiations show an astute and steady negotiator who does not succumb to trigger-happy hawks. Gordon may very well wind up like Raul Roco, as among the best upright people who would have made really excellent presidents. Sen. Gordon will be in the Hall of Fame of Philippine Presidents We Never Had or something to that effect.
Nick Perlas is too late in the game. Pilipino Time and New Politics don’t mix. Nick is obviously, a thinker – but it seems his head is stuck in the clouds. In a landscape that he knew revolves around winnability, his network of contacts could have laid down the foundations for new politics and sustained it in order to wean away the electorate from patronage politics and create a transition towards a more responsible public debate. As a co-convenor of the forces ideologically allied with KOMPIL, Perlas is deeply entrenched in the non-profit world – the man’s got a heart – that’s a good thing. Given his idealism, I wonder if he will survive the horsetrading and realpolitik. Oftentimes the non-profit world has lots of wonderful ideas which buckle down in practice due to lack of economies of scale. But those questions will not be answered during this election and possibly for another generation more.
Ang Kapatiran’s JC Reyes has good intentions. It’s just that am particular with the separation of the church and state. When I saw Kapatiran’s clearly Catholic slant, I thought okay when are you guys turning into the Caliban?
I have already seen an Aquino administration – and given that the same people behind Cory are the same group behind Noynoy, have an idea of the operational paralysis to expect from an inept Noynoy presidency. If he can inherit “greatness” he can also inherit the incompetence.
By the looks of it the Philippines is in for deja vu.