THE independent polling firm D' Strafford Research & Strategies defended Friday, April 22, its recent presidential survey that showed Manuel Roxas II and Senator Grace Poe in a statistical tie for the top spot, amid criticisms that the poll conducted in April 2016 was "bogus."
D' Strafford said it is willing to face interested political parties who might want to look into the methodology it used in the non-commissioned nationwide survey conducted from April 13 to 18.
"We welcome everyone for any questions and clarifications (regarding the survey)," said JM Balancar, D' Strafford executive director and project director of its 2016 pre-election presidential survey.
The firm's first survey for the 2016 presidential polls was released to the media during a press conference held at the Shangri-La at The Fort Manila in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City last April 20.
After the survey result was published in different media outfits, including Sun.Star, it had received negative reactions from netizens, especially from supporters of presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the frontrunner in the latest surveys conducted by independent pollsters Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS).
Netizens questioned how an unknown and a newly registered corporation was able to come up with a survey, days before it registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
SEC records show the D' Strafford registered as a corporation on April 11, 2016.
Netizen Jae Manuel Sta. Romana shared this on Twitter:
The firm's website did not also escape the prying eyes of the netizens, as its domain name, www.dstrafford.com, was bought only last April 14.
It's a miracle!!! here are the 'internals'..suddenly..and they were able to do all the number crunching in two days. https://t.co/5MuS16db5X— John Mangun (@mangunonmarkets) April 20, 2016
Balancar admitted that the name D' Strafford is a newly registered company with SEC but the firm that preceded it had been into the corporate and political survey business for years.
He said D' Strafford is a result of the merger of two defunct survey firms, one of them is Smart Poll Research Center, the pollster that predicted the outcome of the 2013 senatorial run of Senator Grace Poe.
Balancar said the questions on the dates when its SEC registration was approved and its website was uploaded were "irrelevant" because D' Strafford already has legal personality to conduct its business.
He said D' Strafford's main business is corporate survey but is also engaged in public opinion surveys. He said it has over 20 corporate clients and dozens of clients who are local politicians.
Some of the surveys it conducted are not for public consumption, especially the product surveys, Balancar said.
"We would like to let you know that the survey method is totally different as it is patterned with US surveys," said company representative Jack Strafford in a reply to a news item posted on the Sun.Star website.
He said the difference in the results of the survey with that of Pulse Asia and SWS is in the "sampling" of respondents.
"Other surveys, they just simply divide the number of respondents 'EQUALLY' per region, that is WRONG because the number of VOTERS per region is different, say in NCR that's 6 million plus, Balance of Luzon is 24 million of voters ... the sampling should be PROPORTIONATE to the ACTUAL number of voters," Strafford said.
Balancar explained that the 2,800 verified voters were screened if they are associated with any political groups, working in government, relative of a candidate, or working for media.
Strafford said that "random sample" respondent represents "voting population" per region and it should not be affiliated and not connected with any party, which means that it only surveyed "pure" respondents.
"Ours is different for example -- other surveys will use ex. 1,200 respondents then they equally divide it with four (National Capital Region, Balance of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) *300 samples in effect," he said.
Strafford said Metro Manila is about six million voters, which is equivalent to 11 percent of the 54 million total population.
"Now in the balance of Luzon, 24 million voters equivalent to 44.4 percent of the total voting population -- so the respondents should be PROPORTIONATE and NOT EQUALLY DIVIDED because of the voting population per REGION is different," he added.
"That's how US pollsters doing and we are following the same," he said.
Balancar said the "proving" question, which were asked to respondent why they will not vote for a certain candidate, helps.
He said top of mind reason for not voting Duterte is the "Australian rape remark" or the alleged joke of the Davao mayor on the rape of Australian Jacqueline Hamill at a Davao jail in 1989.
D' Strafford is a family-owned corporation with five members, including Balancar, and has a build-up capital of P1 million, according to SEC records.
Its office address is located at 32nd Eco Tower Penthouse, Unit 1 Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. (Sunnex)