Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Year of the Goat--what to expect in politics in 2015

The cuffs are off come this year
Okey, so this year is the Year of the Goat, according to the Chinese calendar. Based on Raymond Lo's estimation (Lo is a popular and most sought-after Feng Shui master), this year is generally described as violent, because wood which is yin sits upon yang/earth. Meaning, there is conflict between these two elements. When there is conflict, there is disharmony.

These two elements cause friction, which is in essence, impacts on the political life of the nation. Conflicting parties will go at it--and with severe conviction and consequence to socio-economic and political life.

2015 is an election year. It is where political personalities finally decide to try their political lucks. Of course, formal campaigning begins in February and ends in the first week of May. However, we all know that the selection period starts as early as August 2015 and ends by January or February 2016, when most voters already chose whom to vote come May 2016. If a candidate manages to establish a strong connection with voters from January 2015 up to November 2015, he has a stronger than even chance of getting the post he wants come May 2016.

Based on studies, voters chose based on personal character, platform of governance and previous record of service, in this order. On personal character, voters prefer those who are easy to approach, intelligent, amiable, and not corrupt. Platforms are normally judged based on political party affiliation while in terms of record of service, the things which he did for the community he once served.

Obviously, the first half of this year will centre on attacks against Vice president Jejomar Binay which began very early in 2014. Those attacks already got their marks and reflected on Binay's survey ratings.

Binay is still the top man to beat, yet it seems that those attacks are tapering off, meaning, losing their stings. That explains why Trillianes in an interview says they, meaning his colleagues over at the senate who hate Binay, are coming up with another witness, a new one, to further bolster their case against the former Makati mayor.

Senator Antonio Trillianes IV in a December interview by the Philippine Daily Inquirer reveals that anti-Binay attacks will still continue from January up to April or May. Meaning, expect fireworks from the Binay and anti-Binay camps, probably again dealing with the Vice president's alleged corruption during his time as mayor of Makati. This attacks will have major impact on the chances of the vice president come 2016. Obviously, the aim of these attacks is to isolate Binay from big-time political financiers and contributors to dilute his chances of electoral victory in the presidential elections. Obviously, money is a key factor in any campaign, and even if you are a popular one and you have a network, but you don't have enough logistics to fund the network activities, then, you're dead.

Those in opposition to Binay are betting their chances of further dragging the vice president further down the ratings game, because everyone knows that financiers hinge their decision to support based on the candidate's winnability. And knowing any better, they base their decisions on surveys.

Without any major counter-offensive, the vice president is an open target.

Attackers of the vice president likewise expects him to spend time putting out fires affecting his time doing his rounds.

While Binay faces his accusers, anti-Binay elements expect their "favoured" candidates to benefit from the fall-out. However, if we base our observations on previous surveys, the gain is non-substantial. If one spreads the survey and include other personalities in the equation, those intended to benefit namely Grace Poe and Mar Roxas barely get the chunk of voter supporters of Binay.

The reason is simply, Poe's and Roxas' constituencies are different from Binay's.

Before, Poe's constituency reflects those of Binay's. However, it now appears that Poe's constituency is changing. It is actually attracting supporters from Roxas' which means that the more Poe's numbers increase, the lesser voters support Roxas.

The general observation is that, when Binay's numbers fall, the fall is not benefiting one or two persons--it is being spread throughout the list of possible candidates.

Meaning, if Miriam Santiago and Ping Lacson's names are included, they benefit from Binay's ratings slides, not necessarily Poe or Roxas. Hence, if this is only a two-man fight, there is that possibility even that Binay stays with minimal change.

This means that whatever the opposition to Binay does, it will not lead to Poe finally eclipsing Binay to the top spot. Poe's numbers are expected to plateau very soon because let's face it, Poe is not the best candidate in the minds of the informed and uninformed publics. There are still facets of her personality that are, at best, hidden from view, so to speak. This is her weakness.

What does this means? Let's see if Poe's numbers still hold when attacks against her reputation are launched. Poe's handlers know that she has various skeletons in her closet, waiting to be exposed before the public.

If Poe is adopted by the administration as its candidate, this will benefit Binay, because her previous constituency base will again change. Will an Aquino blessing help Poe win 2016? No. Aquino obviously does not have the powers an Estrada holds. Estrada's endorsement is more potent than Aquino's.

However, it will be a different ballgame altogether if Estrada bets in Poe than Binay's. An Estrada endorsement of Poe will even the odds, so to speak, both in terms of popular support and financier backing.