Filipinos should be more discerning of election survey results, especially the so-called “kalye surveys”, in the run-up to the May 9 national elections, survey firm Pulse Asia and analytics group OCTA Research said in separate statements Wednesday.
These people-on-the-street surveys cannot be counted as representative of all Filipinos, Pulse Asia President Ron Holmes said.
“When you do a convenience sampling, which I think is what a kalye survey is, if you go along the street and you ask people what they feel, that’s not a random sampling. People who would answer are people who would basically be willing to share their opinions,” Holmes said in a virtual forum.
“You cannot reflect that as an opinion of other people who basically were randomly selected.”
OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David, who was also at the forum, said “kalye” survey results could be problematic without the proper use of statistical and mathematical methods in conducting them.
“We can’t put a high level of reliance on these results if the methodologies are not very sound,” Guido said.
These statements came after faculty members of the University of the Philippines’ School of Statistics earlier urged the public to be cautious of online opinion polls made with what it called “unclear methodologies.”
OCTA Research and Pulse Asia both said they have been open with how they conducted surveys and called on Filipinos to scrutinize the organizations that carried out a particular survey, especially their background.
Holmes lamented that such surveys have already been reported in the media without any details on how the survey was carried out and what their sampling methods were.
“I cringe when I hear the survey results without any indication of the method that was used by the survey organization,” Holmes said. “What method was used, when was the data collected, what the questionnaire was, and all of the other things that come in place in the conduct of the survey.”
“If the organization is handling candidates, marketing candidates and they do surveys, that’s a big problem for us,” said OCTA Research Fellow Dr. Ranjit Rye.
“If they are helping a particular candidate, you’ll see it anyway. I think you can smell that 10 miles away.”
Surveys were a snapshot of public opinion at a certain point in time, and Filipinos should still vote according to their personal beliefs, both polling groups said.
“Vote according to what you believe in, based on the aspirations that you have, and whether you think that the candidate that you’re voting for, or selected, would work on those aspirations,” Holmes said.
“The people who really use the surveys are the candidates themselves because they are the ones who are directly affected by it,” Guido said.
“Instead of saying ‘the survey must be wrong’ because this candidate is lagging, we should flip the question and ask ‘why are people choosing the other candidates and not the candidate I prefer?’,” he added.
Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is the current frontrunner in both the latest election surveys carried out by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations or SWS. Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo came second in both polls.