Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Making sense of latest SWS survey February 2016: Binay is pulling away

Vice president Jejomar Binay continues to lead the pack with 29% down by a few notches from 31% from the previous month. Grace Poe comes in second at 24%, the same rating as what Davao mayor Rody Duterte had. In the vice presidential race, it is clearly a neck-and-neck tie between Chiz Escudero and Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

What are our observations?

General Observations:

1. Most voters have chosen already their candidate for the presidency but not in the vice presidency. The very slim number of "undecided" shows that voters are wisely choosing their candidate based on their individual assessments. There are many variables involved in this decision-making process: first, fitness or qualifications for the position; second, health condition and third, if the voter already met the candidate or had identified himself with the candidate.

In the presidential surveys, it is evident that Binay maintains a solid 25-30% mass base while it is beginning to dawn upon us that Poe had her 15-20%. Meanwhile, Duterte's "mass base" is still unclear. It hovers between 10% to 15% or even as low as 5% if some of his voter supporters learn of his failing health.

As for Mar Roxas, it seems that, if basing from these surveys alone, his numbers are not sufficient for a win. It would really take a miracle for Roxas to win at this point. And those miracles might probably be if Binay dies, or Duterte suddenly realizes that it's better for him to just retire or Grace Poe just wakes up one morning and realizes that the American citizenship she lost has more value than being a Filipino.

Or, those counting machines just suddenly read only his name and rejects Binay's...

What is highly certain at this point is this---the number of "undecided" voters have dwindled to a mere 2-3% meaning most voters have chosen their presidential candidate already and if trends remain, these observations are valid:

1. Binay is slowly pulling away. Alleged political analyst Ed Tayao (who never had any single analysis that came true) says the top spot is still "for grabs" because of the analysis that the survey had a margin of error of plus and minus 2-3% which says that Binay's 29% may actually be just 26% or even as high as 34% while Grace Poe's 24% may be in actuality 20% or 28%. I just dont know how Tayao and another stupid SWS researcher had the temerity to say that Binay, Poe and Duterte are  "statistically "tied". The term "tie" is just used if two persons have the same numbers. Maybe more precise to say they are statistically even.

But even that is not entirely true. What is certain is that Binay's mass base is unshake-able. The fact is--Binay has attained what many describe as a "Teflon-like" personality. Among our national political figures, next to him is Erap. So Binay is what Erap was in 1998.

2. Duterte may get in a statistical tie with Binay near the homestretch. Duterte's numbers are increasing because he is now going around town and is shaking people's hands. Rody is the flavor of the month at this stage. He's popularity is similar to that of Poe during the initial period last year. And like Poe's, it would taper and would show a solid base. We would be able to see it this March.

It is interesting to see where voters would go the minute they learn of Duterte's health condition. News articles about his failing health continues to get published and aired. It is also being discussed among netizens.

I might be wrong, but I think most of those voters rooting for Duterte might actually go to Binay near the homestretch if Duterte suddenly loses interest in the race. There are signs or indications of such an eventuality. For one, his campaign machinery needs a billion pesos just to protect his votes and, at this point, the good Mayor of Davao does not have that kind of amount.  

3. Poe is losing valuable voter support. Poe's numbers are discouraging to say the least given that she had placed advertisements in practically everywhere. Those daily ads are giving her the awareness but not the conversion, similar to what happened to Villar in 2010.

This is due to the fact that the initial euphoria created by Grace Poe has now dissipated. Notice that inspite of almost daily and hourly advertisements about Grace Poe, her numbers have not improved. What is certain is that she remains with a possible 15-20% mass base of voter supporters and there is no indication that this may improve in the next few surveys. What seems to be going against Poe is the lingering perception of her unfitness as a candidate. This writer is right when I told my readers a few months ago that the initial strong support for Poe will eventually taper off and plateau. The political pond is beginning to show a clearer picture at this point.

Many of her supporters are trying to justify this "trend going South" as after-effects of the status of her case before the Supreme Court. They are not admitting to themselves that this is actually expected that eventually, Poe's numbers would reach its pinnacle, and would settle for a definitive figure--that of 15-20% which is surely not enough to defeat Binay's numbers.

Game-changers...

1. When Duterte finally declares his support for Binay. Duterte's condition right now is similar to that of Raul Roco's when the good senator suddenly stopped his campaign due to his ailment. Duterte has reportedly admitted having four kinds of ailments. And Duterte had, in the past, already declared that should he withdraws from the race, he would surely throw his support to Binay.

If Duterte does that, the possibility of us electing not a minority but a majority president looms. If you ask me, that eventuality is better than risking the very future of this country electing a minority president.

2. When the administration party realizes the futility of the Roxas campaign and shifts focus on supporting Poe's. This is still not an assurance of a Poe win but this would just even the playing field, so to speak. The 7 million assured voter base by Roxas would probably shift to Poe and this would allow her to mount a fair fight so to speak. Actually, many people believe that, in the homestretch, the fight would actually be waged between Binay and Poe. And in the absence of a strong grassroots machinery that would protect her votes, Poe's numbers would not be able to surmount Binay's.

In the end, it seems, if only basing from the results of these surveys, the clear winner is really still Vice president Jejomar Binay.