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The Maturation of Phil Democ

The Maturation of Phil Democ

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Published by: qx1875 on Apr 26, 2010
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   
 The maturation of Philippine democracy
   
For Philippine democracy to thrive, it needs morepublic opinion organizations to guide the voting public
By Prof. Alfredo S. Sureta, Jr.Executive Director StratPOLLS, Inc.(December 16, 2009)
(The author of this paper is professor of Political Science at the University of the East. He earned his masters degree in Political Science cum laude at the University of Sto. Tomas where he is currently working on his doctoral degree.)
 The American setting
 When then Sen. Barack Obama and rival Sen. John McCain figured in the 2008US presidential elections, no less than twelve polling organizations tracked the contest from start to finish with a variation of weekly, daily and exit polls.Poll results by established and upcoming media trade names and pollingorganizations such as NBC-Wall Street Journal, ABC, Fox News, CNN, Gallup,Rasmussen, NBC News, Bloomberg, Pew Research Center, to name a few, werepublished
side by side
every day in the newspapers, posted on the Internet and evenaircast on television. Twelve organizations “predicted” an Obama victory although they all differed in figures. (Out of the twelve, two polling organizations had McCain“winning” by a thread.) No results were identical and each one bore a variance fromthe other of 5%-10%---and even more in some instances. This is what we call American democracy at work, a mature democracy.(For the latest sample on current US political issues, please visit the website
 The Philippines setting
 The dominance by SWS and Pulse Asia (not necessarily in that order of credibility) in the post-Edsa restoration of democracy in the Philippines isunderstandable since they are the early players in political polling.(The “Father of Philippine Political Polling” is the eminent Col. Simeon Ventura (Ret.), a former Fidel Ramos protégé and former undersecretary of the DILG duringFVR’s term. He predicted with fair accuracy the victory by then DND Sec. RamonMagsayay over the incumbent Pres. Elpidio Quirino in the presidential campaign of the early 1950s. After Colonel Ventura, other players and organizations came into thescene which offered professional services in both political polling and market researchservices like the PSRC, Trends MBL, ARO, to name a few. They were staffed by graduates of courses in statistics and political science.)
Interlocking directorship within two polling firms
 The SWS was founded in 1986 by Dr. Mahar Mangahas, Prof. Felipe Miranda,then DPWH Sec. Jose P. de Jesus (under President Aquino), Mercy Abad among others while Pulse Asia was founded in the 90s when Prof. Felipe Miranda separated fromMangahas and bolted SWS. It should be noted that Mangahas is the cousin of the latepresidential candidate Fernando Poe, Jr. while some of the prominent members of the board and stockholders of Pulse Asia are blood relatives of Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, official candidate for president of the Liberal Party. The corporate records of  both firms that are available at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) willalso show interlocking directorship with several personalities appearing asstockholders of both SWS and Pulse Asia.
Felipe Miranda, Rosalinda T. Miranda, Gemino H. Abad, Mercedes R. Abad, Jose P. de  Jesus appear in SEC records as being founders and or stockholders of both SWS and Pulse Asia.Mercedes R. Abad who is president of TRENDS-MBL is the one who used to conduct the  field research for both SWS and Pulse Asia. Jose P. de Jesus of Pulse Asia was the DPWH Secretary during the time of the late Pres.Cory Aquino. Antonio O. Cojuangco and Rafael Cojuangco Lopa of Pulse Asia are cousins of Sen.Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III.
Error in 2004 Exit Poll
 These two polling organizations are recognized as industry leaders in the publicopinion polling in the Philippines. For the past two decades their poll surveys wereconsidered the industry models in terms of methodology and accuracy, except in the2004 exit poll when SWS issued a public apology for its “wrong forecast” of theoutcome of the presidential contest in NCR. The polling firm made an extensiveexplanation on the reason for a glaring error in its data where they “predicted” a  victory by Pres. Gloria Arroyo in the NCR when it was the late Fernando Poe, Jr. whoactually won convincingly in NCR just as my group of pollsters had predicted.I was then working on a parallel but different Exit Poll in 2004 with a team of pollsters from Proberz (represented by Prof. Ed Tayao), The Center (by Ed Malay) andData Advisors (by Art Valenzuela). We “predicted” an FPJ victory in NCR and an Arroyo victory in the national tally by a very slim margin of 700 thousand votes. We wereproven correct in that Exit Poll.
 The right of the public to be informed;level the playing field
 Although the latest survey results by SWS and Pulse Asia appear to be fairly accurate, StratPOLLS is calling for a level playing field, that is, for more survey firms
to participate in public opinion polling in the Philippines and for the results of their efforts to be published side by side with other polling organizations---similar to thepractice in the United States---to give the public a wider latitude for decision-making. We are supporting the call made recently by leading media practitioners and businessmen for the final passage in the Philippine Senate of Senate
Bill 3308 or the
Freedom of Information Act 
We cannot overemphasize the vital role that a Freedom of Information Act will play in the maturation of Philippine society and politics.”
(Please seeattachment at the end of this paper.)For a change, and for a better change, Philippine media must present side by side all the polls results of legitimate polling firms namely: SWS, Pulse Asia,StratPOLLS, The Center, Ibon Foundation, Asia Research Organization, among othersas shown below, and let the public discern from the data:
Table 1 Comparative results of Presidential Polls 4 
Qtr 2009 
Pollster Date Aquino Villar Estrada Teodoro Gordon MadrigalDelosReyesVillanueva
SWS Dec. 09
46.2 27 16 4.6 0.9 0.2 1.1
Pulse Asia Dec. 09
45 23 19 5 1 1
StratPOLLS Jan. 2010
36 26 15 11 5 1 .25 4
The Center Dec. 09
31 24 19 10 8
Ibon Foundation
(Nothing Available from its website)
Asia Research
(Nothing Available from its website)
Pollster Date Roxas Legarda Manzano Binay Chipeco Yasay Sonza
Dec. 09 43.3 32.0 2.6 10.2 0.3
Pulse Asia 
Dec. 09 39 37 2 14
Sept. 09 47 25 11
The Center (Nothing Available from its website)
Ibon Foundation (Nothing Available from its website)Asia Research (Nothing Available from its website)
No polling firm ever called it accurately, as yet
In the history of polling in the Philippines, not a single polling organization hadcalled it accurately, “to the decimal” as the old line goes. The actual post-electionresults always differed from pre-election surveys. (Please see Page 3, “SWS glaringerror in 2004 Exit Poll”)But the polling firm who called it the closest, gets the best credit. That is what I would call forecasting the election with “fair accuracy.” Perceptions established in pre-election surveys can always be overcome by the efficacy of the political operations of the candidates. The candidate with a nationwide network, and who has the capability to bring the voters from their residences to the polling precincts, will always have a higher or better chance of winning.

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