Noynoy’s popularity rating down by 30%, poll survey shows

November 11, 2009 11:27 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 12 -– Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s popularity rating has declined by 30 percent, according to a recent independent poll survey, a sociologist and publicist confirmed on Thursday.

Prof. Edgardo Malay, a faculty member of the University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman and a publicist of former President Fidel V. Ramos, said Aquino’s rating came down from 60 percent to 30 percent in the September 3-6 survey by The Issues and Advocacy Center.

While maintaining his lead over other presidential aspirants in the latest survey conducted by Malay, Aquino’s popularity is seen to be on the decline which the Center described as a “stationary dive.”

Malay said in a telephone interview with the Philippines News Agency (PNA) that they surveyed 1,200 respondents nationwide and they were distributed proportionately to the electoral base of registered voters in 2007.

He also said the method was used with a margin of error of +/-2.8 percent and a confidence level of 95 percent, respondents were asked “Who would you vote for from among the list of 13 known presidential aspirants if elections were to be held today?”

“Thirty percent or 360 respondents said they will vote for Aquino while 23 percent or 276 respondents said they will go for Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar,” Malay said.

Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada who also recently declared he will run for president in 2010 with Makati City Mayor Jejomar “Jojo” Binay garnered 13 percent while Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero who resigned from the National People’s Coalition (NPC) which has been his political party since 1998 registered 11 percent.

Despite the survey numbers, the center predicted a tight five-cornered race in 2010, clarifying that while poll surveys may be a basis in the determination of preferences by voters in any electoral exercise, the actual condition prevailing on the ground during the final stages of the campaign and on election day will largely depend not only on perception but on the quality, viability and operability of the political organization that candidates to national positions have.

The Issues and Advocacy Center claimed that national elections cannot be treated as a separate electoral exercise that is distinct from the local polls because the pursuit of the campaigns of national candidates are dependent on the caliber of the local organizations that they have organized which is why the elections even for national positions are also dependent on local influences.

This is the key that can make or unmake the candidates running for national positions, Malay said.

“What good would perception be if you cannot even deliver those perceptions to the precinct level and or if these perceptions change beginning on the eve of the elections up to the close of the polling precincts. This is an age-old reality politicians have to live with,” said Malay.

He added that this is the reason it is predicting an election environment that is different from the survey results.

Factoring in the kind of political support that each of the presidential aspirants currently have and if the present level of political base that each one has will not change till election day, the prediction is that the polls will be hotly contested by Villar, outgoing Defense Secretary Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro, Estrada, Escudero and Aquino in that order.

Malay said the drop in the survey rating of Aquino is understandable as the euphoria associated with the death and burial of the late President Cory Aquino has started to wear off.

There is also the possibility, he said, that the people especially in the areas that were inundated by typhoons "Ondoy", "Pepeng" and "Santi" expected the tandem of Noynoy and Mar Roxas to be more visible in the relief operations that followed.

“The intensive and sustained Radio/TV advertisements launched by Villar nationwide, coupled with the relief operations that his corporate organization conducted in the areas hit by Ondoy and Pepeng, also allowed Villar to keep Noynoy within sight,” said Malay.

Malay added that as the Philippines tries to survive during these crucial and trying times when the world economy on which the country is dependent on has yet to recover, the Filipino electorate even in the depressed areas are also beginning to look not only at the qualifications of the presidential aspirants but also on the experience and capability of each of the presidentiables to lead the country 2010 and beyond.

Aquino also led the survey in the regions: National Capital Region where he posted 35 percent, Luzon (29 percent), Visayas (22 percent) and Mindanao (33 percent).

Of particular interest, however, is the prominence in which Teodoro crashed into the recent survey of The Center.

Teodoro in the 13-way sampling posted a respectable 8 percent for 6th place right behind the fast-slipping Vice President Noli de Castro (9 percent).

But Teodoro improved to 5th place with 11 percent in the 8-way race which is just a shade behind Estrada who was at 15 percent in the 8-way sampling.

In an eight-way race, Malay said Aquino also topped the survey sampling with 23 percent but is now closely followed by Villar with 20 percent.

“What may come as a surprise are the changes in the position of Erap Estrada (13 percent in the 13-way race) dropping to fourth at 15 percent and giving way to Chiz Escudero who posted 16 percent.

The other change was that of Vice President Noli de Castro who could only muster 8 percent for 6th place compared to his 5th place position (9 percent) in the 13-way race.

These changes, according to Malay, is brought about by the possibility that the Filipino electorate are beginning to think wisely with respect to their choices given the enormity and gravity of the series of calamities that hit the country and the uncharacteristic response the people saw from among the presidentiables who have presented themselves to the public.

Meanwhile, Aquino belied claims his ratings have been dropping slowly, with Villar catching up.

In a press conference, he said a survey conducted by the Issues and Advocacy Center from October 19-26, showed him topping, at 30 percent, in a 13-way (against 12 contenders) fight. Second was Villar with 23 percent, and former President Joseph Estrada in third place with 13 percent.

In an eight-way (against seven contenders) race, Aquino scored 23 percent and Villar 20 percent.

"In the September survey, I placed fifth with 11 percent. The next month, I placed first with 30 percent," Aquino said. He noted Villar got 23 percent in both the September and October surveys.

Political Science Prof. Alfred S. Sureta Jr., executive director of the newly-organized Strat Polls, has joined Malay of The Center claiming there could have been a breach in the sampling protocol as the key sampling method of stratification apparently was not observed in the recent survey which was allegedly conducted by the Social Weather Station showing Aquino ahead of the field of presidentiables with a rating of 50 percent.

Sureta also stressed that he is not questioning the integrity of the SWS that conducted the survey but he maintained that the survey could have suffered from high favorable bias for Senator Aquino as the areas surveyed are mostly in Region III.

He also said that from what he knows, the SWS does not use a field force of its own but sub-contracts the field operation to another party and if there has been any breach in the methodological approach to the field operations, the possible lapse(s) could be traced back down to that level.

Sureta pointed out that it is statistically improbable for Sen. Manny Villar to have lost 15% to 20% “overnight” or from the short period of time when Senator Aquino first made known his intention to seek the presidency.

It will be recalled that Aquino announced he will be running for President on Sept. 8 while the alleged SWS survey was conducted from Sept. 5 to 6 or two to three days before Aquino made public his intention.

In explaining what he meant by breach in the sampling protocol, Sureta said that it is the general rule in poll surveys to adopt the multi-stage area probability sampling or MSAPS to generate a fair and more accurate result and that such surveys must not be concentrated in just one area of territory.

Malay yesterday also questioned the results of the SWS survey as unbelievably high and that there were traces that certain groups who are supporting and or working for Aquino either officially or as back-room support have started to create mindsets by establishing a trend this early in the political ball game. (PNA)

dct/V3/JCA

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