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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The senatorial race by April

"Don’t rely on surveys like they were a matter of life and death."

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If you believe Pulse Asia, it’s all over but the counting for the pro-administration coalition of Hugpong ng Pagbabago of Sara Duterte and the top two personal choices for senator of President Rodrigo Duterte of PDP-Laban.

The possibility is strong that none of the opposition eight Otso Diretso senatorial candidates would make it.

BizNewsAsia averaged the four pre-selection senatorial survey results of Pulse Asia during January, February, March, and April 2019.  We added the results of the four months and divided the total by four.  Here are the averages:

1. Grace Poe (66.38 percent); 2. Cynthia Villar (59.23); 3. Sonny Angara (49.98); 4. Pia Cayetano (49.10); 5. Lito Lapid (49.03); 6. Bong Go (48.55); 7. Nancy Binay (43.08); 8. Ronald dela Rosa (40.75); 9. Bong Revilla (39.00); 10. Koko Pimetel (36.63); 11. Imee Marcos (36.45); 12. Jinggoy Estrada (35.55); 13. Mar Roxas (34.35); 14. Bam Aquino (32.88); 15. Serge Osmeña (30.50); 16. Francis Tolentino (28.00).

The Pulse Asia surveys have 1,800 respondents with an error margin of + or – 2.3, meaning the survey numbers can miss actual tallies by 4.6 percentage points combined, both ways. 

Ideally, a survey with a margin of error of 2.3 percentage points either way should be reliable.  It is not.

In 2016, both Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations were way off the mark in their predictions. Since both still use the survey methodology they had in 2016, the probability of their being wrong again in 2019 cannot be discounted.

In April 2016, Social Weather Stations had the following survey results for senators:

1. Frank Drilon (result, 1); 2.Vicente Sotto (2); 3. Manny Pacquiao (7); 4. Kiko Pangilinan (9); 5. Panfilo Lacson (4); 6. Migz Zubiri (6); 7. Risa Hontiveros (9); 8. Leila de Lima (12); 9. Joel Villanueva (2); 10. Sergio Osmeña (14); 11. Richard Gordon (5); 12. Ralph Recto (11); 13. Win Gatchalian (10); 14. TG Guingona (17).

Gatchalian was predicted to lose. He won instead. Serge Osmeña was predicted to win. He lost instead. Joel Villanueva was predicted to be No. 9. He became No. 2 actually. No. 3 in the survey, Pacquiao, became No. 7.

In 2016, Pulse Asia did worse than SWS. It made Villanueva losing, at No. 14. He ended up No. 2. It made Serge Osmeña win at No. 7. He lost at No. 14 in actual count. It predicted Sotto would be No. 1 (he came out No. 2).  It made Dick Gordon No. 10. He was actually No. 5. It made Leila de Lima lose, at No. 13. She won, at No. 12. It made Kiko Pangilinan No. 3. He ended up No. 9, five rungs lower.

Moral of the story: Don’t rely on surveys like they were a matter of life and death. Both SWS and Pulse Asia have a lot of explaining to do for having more misses than hits in the past.

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