Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Real game changers in May 10 elections

When UP public administration Professor Prospero de Vera predicted a Villar win largely due to "religious block voting", he has clearly shown his political naivete, worst, his fractured political analysis. De Vera's analysis is full of errors. For one, religious block voting has not clearly been established as a major political game changer and two, Philippine politics is entirely unpredictable that a prediction coming from a public administration professor and an issues adviser of a presidentiable is at best, unreliable. De Vera's analysis is more of a propaganda material to "save face" AND put a brave front on behalf of his boss, Manny Villar. Why so?

The real "game changers" in Philippine politics are these:

1. First, Filipino voters traditionally vote along ethnicity lines rather than religious beliefs. The Filipino electorate is divided into ethno-linguistic groups. Filipinos are thinking clearly. There is a clear divide between "religious duties" and "political duties".

Voting blocks in Philippine politics are the following: Ilokano, Tagalog, Bicolano, Cebuano, Ilonggo, Tausug, Maguindanaoan and Suluanon votes. There is no such thing as Bulakeno, Palawaeno, or even Pangalatok vote.

2. Political influence of local executives. This is one of the real game changers. Voters are influenced more by strong political leaders rather than strong religious leaders.

3. There is no such thing as Youth and Labor votes. There is, however, a gender vote. The Youth vote is fractured. It does not necessarily follow that if youth voters vote for a certain candidate, that is a sure win. Yes, the ranks of the youth vote (technically voters from 18 years old to 35 years old are considered youth voters) comprise 75% of the electorate. However, traditionally, this huge block is divided into age groups with differing beliefs and sub-cultural voting patterns. Example, the 18-20 years old age group votes differently than the 21-25 year olds, the 26-30 years old, the 31-35 age groups. The "Youth Vote" is divided along generational lines, hence, cannot be "unified" to support one candidate.

This goes with the "labor vote" because of differing ideological lines.

There is, however, a gender vote. Males vote for male candidates more than they vote for female candidates. Sixty percent of female voters vote for local female candidates than male candidates. However, in nationally elective posts, both male and female voters prefer male candidates more than female candidates. That explains why there are more male legislators than female legislators.

4. There is a regional provincial vote. Voters from the rural areas vote into office candidates perceived as "provincianos" rather than those born in Manila. Visayans prefer candidates from the Visayas while Mindanaoans vote for Mindanaoan candidates. This is quite evident in the senatorial race.

I now understand why Villar is losing the political game---he has an issues adviser who does not know what he is talking about. De Vera should provide his boss with the following analysis, per region, per linguistic block and per gender and age grouping.

Let's analyze based on reports:

1. The Ilocano vote is at best, going to Villar. Villar is expected to clinch the number one spot in the Ilocano provinces due to the endorsement of the very influential Ilocano vote of the Singsons. The Marcoses are still a force to contend with in the Ilocano provinces. Teodoro is second and Aquino, in third place. Pangasinan is one province which is going not entirely with Villar. Pangalatoks will probably go to Estrada, Aquino, Villar and Teodoro.

2. Central Luzon will largely go to Aquino. Nueva Ecija is going for Aquino, similar with Tarlac. Bulacan will largely go to Aquino, Estrada second and Villar third. Zambales and Bataan are going clearly to Villar, Teodoro and Aquino.

3. NCR is critical and being traditionally oppositionist, Aquino will have a big chunk of the votes here, followed by Estrada, Villar and Teodoro. I will not be surprised if Aquino and Estrada will fight tooth and nail for every square inch of Metro Manila.

Quezon city will largely go to Aquino, Villar and Estrada. Camanava is largely Aquino territory, followed by Estrada and Villar. Southern Metro Manila (Paranaque, Pasay,Taguig, Muntinlupa and Las Pinas) will be divided between Aquino and Villar. Pasay is gunning for an Estrada win although Aquino is registering very strong in certain communities.

Eastern Metro Manila is also going for Aquino while central Metro Manila is, again, a toss up between Aquino and Estrada.

4. With the death of former Batangas governor Sanchez, the fight is now between Aquino and Estrada whose influence in the province is still very strong. Certain areas of Batangas will vote for Villar and Teodoro but will not be enough to eclipse an Aquino win.

5. Cavite is clearly Aquino, an irony since most low cost housing projects of Villar are located in the province. There are still some areas which will go to Estrada and Villar, respectively.

6. Laguna is "open territory". Certain areas are clearly going for the Liberals, some to Teodoro, Estrada and Villar. Those near Rizal will be going for Estrada, Districts 1 to Aquino and others to Teodoro and Villar.

7. The Rizal provinces (Tanay, Taytay, Cainta, etc.) are also divided, yet Estrada remains very influential in most areas.

8. Bicolano vote will go largely to Aquino, while the crumbs will be shared equally by Villar, Estrada and Teodoro.

9. Visayan vote is also fractured. Aquino is very strong in Regions 6 but entirely weak in Region 7, which counts Cebu. Cebu has the biggest number of voters and most voters exhibit republican tendencies. What is significant, Cebuanos are influenced by their local government executives. Unlike voters in Metro Manila, voters in Metro Cebu are strongly influenced by their officials.

Villar has a very strong chance of clinching majority of the votes in Cebu, followed by Teodoro, Aquino and Estrada. However, if Teodoro wins Cebuano votes, that will actually benefit Aquino because even if Teodoro wins in Region 7, it will not be enough to defeat him. It is better that Cebuano votes remain divided between Villar and Teodoro.

10. Mindanao is therefore, a region where crucial voter support is needed. Whoever has a huge campaign kitty will win Mindanaoan support. It will be a toss up between Villar and Estrada in this area.