Editorial: Survey results and cheating

THERE'S no denying that the release of the results of the surveys done by firms like Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) have influenced the conduct of our elections. In the early stages, these were factors in the choice by political parties of their candidates and the decision of some personalities to throw their hat into the political ring. During the campaign period, these affected the choice of voters of candidates to support.

Would Grace Poe have decided to run for president and form her own party had not the results showed her topping the surveys on presidentiables? Or would President Noynoy Aquino and then Interior and Local Governments secretary Mar Roxas have offered the vice presidential slot of the Liberal Party (LP) to Poe had she not figured prominently in the surveys?

In these instances, capability and qualification were obviously not the main considerations in the choices. And that goes down the line. Surveys dictated the formation by the major political groups of their senatorial slate. Surveys also dictated the political parties’ choice of candidates at the local levels.

During the campaign, survey results influenced the shifts in the propaganda thrusts of candidates. This is apparent at the national level. Since Binay was the early frontrunner, he was the first to be targeted. When Poe outstripped him in the surveys, she became the focus of attacks. Now it’s Duterte’s turn.

But we are only talking here of targets and not of the falsity of the attacks because for all we know a big chunk of these could be true.

The danger in surveys and the release of survey results as election day nears, however, is that these could influence the people’s perception on the conduct of the elections. The point is, voters’ preference shifts even until they go to the polling precincts, or on the days that the surveys are not being conducted.

Thus, the ranking released by survey firms a few days before the elections are not static. As they say, the only survey results that matter are those held at the polling precincts on election day.This should be said because some sectors are spreading the notion that since their candidates topped the recent surveys, they would lose only by cheating.

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