Reading pre-election polls appears to have approached the level of the Filipinos’ favorite pastime: cockfighting, which touches every hair and heartbeat from Tawi-Tawi up to Batanes.
Surveys have been conducted repeatedly, on supposedly different issues, in this country of 106 million people, who have different levels of appreciation or tolerance for such.
But when it comes to pre-election surveys, where the questions are sometimes hardly published and corollary caveats none, it appears something is missing.
For the frequency with which these so-called surveys—and they indisputably well up months into E-Day—are released to media by name and new groups of pollsters raises some subliminal thoughts.
Which invites the question: Should we trust pre-election surveys?
In the latest Pulse Asia survey of 2019 senatorial candidates, for instance, the public opinion polling body founded in 1999 as a for-profit private company came out with its report, picked up by print and broadcast media, that incumbent Senators Grace Poe (Independent), Cynthia Villar (Nacionalista Party) and Juan Edgardo Angara (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino) would grab the first three positions for the allotted 12 posts in the May midterm elections—if the elections were held in the survey period of Dec. 14 to 21, 2018.
As published, these surveys merely identify who are the probable winners, with the news organizations chasing those probable winners for a publishable quote or sound bite—which feeds the passions and expectations of the electorate not within the diameter of “respondents.”
We feel there is a need for a publishable and therefore more transparent methodology in conducting the surveys to help readers and listeners understand better why the probable winners are in their respective places.
Have pre-election surveys always been firmly fixed that many come up with speed of lightning particularly in the months before E-Day to persuade voters who are supposed to have not made up their minds as yet and vote for candidates who commission these bodies before the efforts?