Aquino’s handlers are probably wondering – what went wrong with the “pedigree, winnability, honesty” theme? How come people are no longer buying? It boils down to one word – Credibility.
Credibility is defined as
“capable of being believed; believable: a credible statement.”
“worthy of belief or confidence; trustworthy: a credible witness.”
“The quality, capability, or power to elicit belief: “America’s credibility must not be squandered, especially by its leaders” (Henry A. Kissinger).”
When there is a gap between the professed ideals and their actual practices, there is a discrepancy – a credibility gap.
Benign0 ought to give Noynoy’s handlers a seminar and pound this into their brains
“Noynoy Aquino squandered his popularity by surrounding himself with morons who jumped on the popularity and pedigree bandwagon but contributed NOTHING in the way of boosting his credibility to people who apply a bit more of a technical brain. And if we see the smartening up of The Filipino Voter as evidence of hope for a better Philippines, then we should see the fall of Noynoy Aquino as evidence that such a long-shot aspiration is coming to fruition.“
Noynoyistas will be quick to the defense and ascribe it to Villar’s ad spending. Villar of course, retorts that he is only catching up with the brand that has had a headstart for decades – after all what really is “pedigree” – but a premium brand.
Trust and Credibility
Noynoyistas have been harping around the issue of “trust” as if Noynoy has the monopoly of trustworthiness.
But the deeper question really is “Can Noynoy be trusted to deliver?” – Is he credible?
Let’s look beyond the the rhetoric and try to make sense out of this. so, I went to the digital library of Google University, and ran a search on trust and credibility. Guess what the cat brought in – a study entitled “The Determinants of Trust and Credibility in Environmental Risk Communication: An Empirical Study” by three PhDs (Peters, Covello, and McCallum) – from the Center for Risk Communication.
The abstract read:
This study examines a key component of environmental risk communication: trust and credibility. The study was conducted in two parts.
In the first part, six hypotheses regarding the perceptions and determinants of trust and credibility were tested against survey data. The hypotheses were supported by the data.
The most important hypothesis was that perceptions of trust and credibility are dependent on three factors: perceptions of knowledge and expertise; perceptions of openness and honesty; and perceptions of concern and care.
In the second part, models were constructed with perceptions of trust and credibility as the dependent variable.
The goal was to examine the data for findings with direct policy implications. One such finding was that defying a negative stereotype is key to improving perceptions of trust and credibility.
The studies conclusions were very revealing:
The summary equations produced the following results:
- For industry, an increase in public perceptions of concern and care results in a larger increase in perceptions of trust and credibility than any other variable under consideration.
- For government, an increase in public perceptions of commitment results in a larger increase in perceptions of trust and credibility than any other variable under consideration.
- For citizen groups, an increase in public perceptions of knowledge and expertise results in a larger increase in perceptions of trust and credibility than any other variable under consideration.
- For society as a whole, the determinants of trust and credibility are not monolithically invariant across organizations and institutions.
The research finds that the determinants of trust and credibility display considerable differences. Indeed, the three equations show a high degree of diversity. This diversity is evidenced in the range of the coefficients of determination. Not only did the strength of the determinants, and frequently the determinants themselves, differ from one equation to another, but the ability of the determinants to explain the variation in the dependent variable also displayed a range.
One explanation for the variation in the coefficients of determination of the regression equations can be found in commonly held stereotypes. Of the three organizations studied, citizen groups are most often drawn from the general public, and, as such, according to a common stereotype, are perceived to lack specialized knowledge of public health and safety issues.
Support for this can be seen in Table 10-A, where the survey respondents’ perceptions of knowledge and expertise are presented. As shown in the table, citizen groups are rated below both industry and government on this variable. Yet such perceptions are the strongest predictor of citizen groups trust and credibility. Similarly, industry, according to a common stereotype, is commonly perceived to care and be concerned only about profits, and minimally about public health and safety. Support for this can be seen in Table 10-B, where the survey respondents’ perceptions of concern and care are presented.
As shown in the table, industry is rated below both government and citizen groups on this variable. Yet perceptions of concern and care are the strongest predictor of industry trust and credibility.
Thus, it appears that defying a negative stereotype is key to improving perceptions of trust and credibility.
You can read the study in greater detail below:
[gview file=”https://sanamagan.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/crc-p2.pdf” height=200]
TRUST AND CREDIBILITY
The study’s conclusions provide the context why Noynoy’s message of concern, care, and commitment – and honesty.
Noynoy’s campaign theme is based on the premise that Noynoy is the antithetical opposite of Arroyo – in other words, anti-incumbentism. Presenting Noynoy as having more commitment to anticorruption than all other candidates seemed a good idea. But that assumes that such idea will not be challenged. Under the constant assault of newer ideas, the premises of anti-incumbentism begin to unravel.
With the Aquino campaign as backdrop AND the Center for Risk Communication study as a backdrop – one can see that the promise of bigger commitment to anticorruption can only take Noynoy so far – he needs to back this up with a demonstration of his knowledge and expertise on the issues, because he is not addressing government credibility but HIS OWN credibility to be able to deliver on his solutions and prescriptions.
Thus far, what has Aquino’s campaign done? Instead of stepping up to the challenge of demonstrating knowledge and expertise, it has:
1 – Kept Aquino from attending debates and fora. This was based on the premise that by keeping mum, he can keep his lead. I dunno, but to me, that’s a cop-out, that’s chickening out. By depriving Noynoy of the opportunity on which he can be sized against other candidates knowledge and expertise – his credibility suffers.
2 – It kept on with the winnability, pedigree, and ads bursting with emo schlep. That’s a good intro to a campaign. But, one shouldn’t get stuck in the intro. He could have leveraged and built on the goodwill of the Aquino brand – and moved towards issues and define his stance, instead of pandering to everyone with the celebrity-heavy emo crap .
3 – He did not address the issue of Hacienda Luista head-on. Defying a negative is key to improving perceptions of trust and credibility. HLI was clearly a negative that the Aquino campaign was not able to defy. Instead of grabbing the bull by the horns, he did not want to risk angering his haciendero compadres but played it safe instead. Thus, his credibility took another beating.
4 – Lastly, Aquino did not put in a good performance at the Senate. Sen. Lito Lapid filed more thoughtfull bills than Noynoy at least 7 times more. I have more respect for Lito Lapid than Noynoy who logged a measly 9 bills within a period of 3 years. How can one believe Noynoy if he says he will be more ethical and shape up the government when he can’t even shape up? In this case, his legislative output is proof of the pudding on his ability to perform. Fiscalizer? It’s not even a legitimate English word. It is a stretch of the imagination to believe that Aquino can pull it off when he can’t even deliver satisfactory or even come up with mediocre legislation much less outstanding ones given a period of time.
These are the four items that the Aquino campaign has yet to have a handle on. They still don’t get it.
It is no longer enough to harp on vague themes like “trust”. How can one trust Noynoy to deliver when there is a discrepancy in his walk and his talk?
As voters become more sophisticated, more well-informed, more educated – and have the medium for instantaneous exchange of knowledge and ideas – the questions become more pointed. The questions becomes one of trust.. AND credibility.
Positive Campaigning? Yeah right?
As Aquino’s stats go south, the Aquino campaign will raise issues like “what’s in it for Villar”, as this one:
Media monitors have stated that Manny Villar has spent around 2.5B in campaign advertising. Tsk, tsk…, tsk, the official campaign hasn’t even begun. At this rate, he’ll be spending a lot more. How, in case he wins, do you think will he recoup that personal expense?” ~Leah Navarro Got this through Lila Shahani’s facebook that came from Lea Navarro’s facebook which I am posting and sharing without permission hahaha
It still misses the point – such a statement does not help Aquino’s case at all. At the very least, one can say – hey, there are truly honest candidates out there – and they deliver world-class results – it’s a toss-up between Gordon and Perlas.
Now if we are to do the math – what is PhP 2.5 to a man whose assets total $530M or PhP 24.3B – check out Forbes list of Philippines 40 richest men. PhP 2.5B is only 10% of Villar’s assets. He can spend another PhP 4B without going broke! And still have so much change.
By focusing on Villar’s spending, the Aquino campaign highlights Villars knowledge and expertise in achieving economic prosperity – and validates Sipag and Tiyaga – and loses out on the opportunity to demonstrate Aquino’s knowledge and expertise (or lack thereof!!!).
Overall, the recent movement in the voter preference augurs well as slackers are eliminated – and candidates with proven ability are given a fair shot at serving their countrymen.
Noynoy has not bagged this election – it’s anyone’s game – thank goodness!