Analysis of the 3rd Quarter 2009 SWS Survey: (Still no clear victor, as far as I’m concerned)

October 14, 2009 § 1 Comment

Noynoy Aquino shaking hands with supporters

Noynoy Aquino shaking hands with supporters

In the latest SWS survey conducted between September 18-21, 2009, Senator Benigno Aquino III emerged as the top Pinoy choice for president. Aquino got 60% of the survey preference of 1,800 respondents. This is the first time that Aquino landed in the presidential list. Senator Manny Villar is a far second with 37%, two percentage points higher than his June survey showing. While former president Joseph Estrada remains within the 15-20% range with 18%, a 7 percentage point drop from the previous June survey.

Villar is teflon guy

What is very clear after a year of surveys that the presidential bet with the most consistent strong showing is Senator Manny Villar with an estimated mass support base of 26.7%. So, if the elections are to be held today, Villar is a sure winner. Why do I say that? Because despite all those controversies levelled against him (i.e. C-5 road controversy) and even with the entry of Senator Noynoy Aquino, Villar’s numbers remain consistently high. Meaning, his support base is at least 27% of the Filipino electorate, the same constituency we saw prior to Joseph Estrada’s ascension to the presidency.

manuel-manny-villar-for-presidentNow, like I said in my other blog, it is very critical for Villar to get a popular running mate that will boost his political stock even more. For example, Villar has a respectable following in the ABC class, yet he is still second to Chiz Escudero, who, political observers note, has a very solid 30% class base support. To be able to win, Villar has to chip Escudero’s numbers in this class.

However, it would be difficult for Villar to gain some more mileage from this class with the sudden entry of Aquino, who has a higher than expected support from the middle class and even at the D-E level. So, even if Villar successfully carve himself a niche out of the ABC class, it will still be Noynoy who will get a sizeable share of the votes of this class. Bear in mind that in previous elections, the ABC class is the most vigilant and the most consistent in actually showing in the polling precincts to exercise their suffrage right. It is this class that we can call the “voting vanguard” since whoever they vote, their bet usually emerges as the winner, despite being statistically lower in numbers compared with the D-E classes.

chiz-escudero-portraitChiz hurt by Aquino’s sudden entry

So, with the entry of Aquino, who stands vulnerable? Clearly, the one being hurt is Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) net Chiz Escudero. Escudero’s numbers, contrary to the perception of his supporters, is clearly not sustainable. His mass base is just 16.9% of the electorate, lower than Villar’s. In fact, even if, say Loren Legarda’s supporters (which is clearly within the 23.6% to 25% range) transfer their votes to him, it would still be a toss-up between Villar and Aquino in the end. Why?

There is no clear indication if Legarda’s supporters would ever transfer their votes to Escudero. Okey, just say that at least half of Legarda’s supporters do transfer to Chiz, that would still be not enough for him to win. Why again?

Chiz shares the same constituency as that of Aquino’s, Legarda’s and even Mar Roxas (who has a respectable support base of 15%). Their mass bases would have difficulty transfering to Chiz because these are people within the middle age category who find in him one basic flaw–his youthfulness. The reason why these people consistently vote for Legarda and Roxas can be explained in two things: one, Legarda and Mar are perceived to be seasoned politicians already with (2) idealism. Chiz shares only one criteria with Loren and Mar–his idealism. With Roxas sliding down to the vice presidential spot, the bigger bulk of his 14.6% mass base support will transfer to Noynoy, yet, Chiz will still receive a residual share from it.  

Where's the Erap Magic?

Where's the Erap Magic?

Erap’s Magic sputtering

Erap’s magic is suffering from lack of tricks. Erap’s mass base support stands at 13.2%, lower than Chiz’s. In fact, Legarda is even higher than him (23.6%), and Noli’s (25.6%). Erap’s handlers expect that a big bulk of Noli’s mass support will transfer to Erap in the event that Noli decides not to run. Surprisingly, it did not happen. In fact, Erap even lost 7 percentage points due largely (or in part) from the Dacer-Corbito revelations and Ping’s Senate performance.

Erap has just finalized his teamup with Binay, which will actually not benefit him, what with only 1.32% support base. Binay’s numbers is an effect of his association with Erap, so this team-up is actually not symbiotic or mutually benefitting. Erap’s numbers will remain within the 15-20% range, not sufficient to garner a very convincing win come 2010 elections.


teodoroarroyoTeodoro’s numbers improving

A jump from 0.8% to 4% is encouraging for Teodoro since it is still some months away from the 2010 elections. Teodoro’s numbers are still not indicative of a win–not as yet. What Teodoro needs is a dramatic causa that will convince people to get out of the Aquino-Villar-Escudero pool choices and swing towards Teodoro.

What would that instance or event be? It is the rehabilitation of Luzon.

Northern, Central, NCR and Southern Luzon are traditionally vote-rich regions comprising what is known as the winner’s corridor. Government has just announced that they will be concentrating their efforts on rehabilitating Northern Luzon.

Now, if Gilbert Teodoro plays his cards right, and Mrs. Arroyo appoints him as the head of a commission for the rehabilitation of Luzon, that will spell a very big difference in the coming elections. In fact, this rehabilitation effort would even be the catalyst for SWING VOTES.

He can relinquish his defense portfolio and serve as the Commission head without any legal impediment. No constitutional provision bars a presidential candidate from actually serving as a head of a commission while campaigning, although some might say that the commission is a government position; therefore, a presidential bet is barred from having that kind of position while campaigning.

Okey, if you look at it, it is irrelevant actually whether Arroyo appoints Gibo or not. What is clear is that government will spearhead the rehab efforts. The expected billions of pesos worth of foreign disaster aid will surely be converted to election campaign funds, serving as the administration “carrot” to local government officials of the North.

This rehab effort would be used by the administration to prop up its official bet.

Final Analysis

The political situation is still very much fluid and I subscribe to the qualitative analysis of Pulse Asia that the spot for the presidency is still up for grabs. The configurations are still quite fuzzy and the possibility of an administration win is still possible, for three (3) reasons:

1. One, the administration has the opportunity to salvage its bad rep by implementing an honest-to-goodness rehab campaign in the North.

2. The slow disintegration of the “opposition” and the lack of an emerging third force strong enough to battle with established political forces.

3. Absence of a strong Opposition figure that can stand as the unifying figure behind reform-minded groups.


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