How credible are (poll) surveys?

THERE ARE POLL SURVEYS and there are poll surveys. Who will you believe in?

Political partisans have two reasons why they run their own surveys. One, is the honest one- which is to find out how is our candidate faring? The other, let us create a bandwagon- a “trending” wave, as the techies say-and influence people how to eventually vote. 

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Because let us face it, all of us- want to vote for the winner -or for our candidate to win.No one wants to lose and no one wants to be identified with losers. That is human nature.

And due to the nature of the beast, the partisans will make the second survey results as public and the first survey- to make their strategic moves to stem the tide to their eventual victory.

Mainstream Media- in our case, the Bohol Chronicle and Station dyRD are not particularly interested in the above motivations and results because those are their partisan lookouts. They can flood social media or platforms they seem necessary to advance their cause, frankly Watson we do not give a hoot.

On occasion, as a member of the Fourth Estate, we run our own surveys to find out about the changing minds of the voting populace at a certain given time. We broadcast and print the results – as we are just messengers or conveyors of the news.

At times, we run news about what one politician says about the other and vice versa. We get a Tower of Babel of opinion either way. But ours is not to lay value judgment on the news -we just convey them. As Fox News succinctly says:” We Report, You Decide”.

Fortunately, and perhaps, unfortunately, the inventors of the Internet and the other social media platforms seemed to have unleashed a Frankenstein in our midst- so that we find today that every Tomas, Iko, and Hari today can freely say his piece- unfounded or researched, truth or fiction, civilized or below the belt.

So much garbage and fake news have, therefore, infiltrated the otherwise laudable Information Highway. But I guess that is the price we make for democratic space and freedom to speak. Of course, there are limits- in that your right to swing your elbow ends when the nose of your neighbor begins.

But we take exception to hurtful opinions (even from those we consider intelligent beings) that the BCRC Group is biased towards a certain group. As much as we can humanly do- we try to make the field pretty even for all. Of course, we cannot please everyone.

Let us take the case of the first scientifically-based pre-election poll survey in Bohol of the venerable Holy Name University Research and Publication Department which has been the first and the consistently near accurate barometer of poll results.

It was initially funded by the USAID for GOLD (Governance for Local Democracy) project of the Associates of Rural Democracies (ARD). The methodology is largely influenced by the help of one of the two most credible polling stations in the country, namely, the SWS (Social Weather Stations). The other is Pulse Asia.

As far as we can recall, the HNU record in tracking poll winners has been in the 90% accuracy in many consistent election years. Of course, it is not perfect. If we recall, there was a hotly contested mayoralty election where the front-runner  (per HNU to the last penultimate day) was upset on election day for reasons that allegedly occurred during the actual election day. It is not 100% accurate all the time- one only has then to deal with probabilities.

By publicizing the results of the survey conducted by HNU from February 12 to March 6, 

both the research institution and this enterprise  (print and radio) were bashed as “bias”. We feel that instead of killing the “messengers” and the “research institution”, perhaps one can learn or two from the results.

Let’s face it – the most acrimonious combat has been in the battle for the gubernatorial derby between Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap and former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco where the HNU survey showed Yap up at 53% and Evasco at 35%.

We say that the actual fight is still to come and will be on the day -May 13, 2019. And just like in basketball where one quarter is an “eternity of basketball ahead” – 67 days from May 6 to May 13 or 67 days in “an eternity in politics”. Many substantial, substantive things can happen.

Just one concrete way of making use of scientific data is to evaluate why Evasco won 59% of the hearts of the ABC market – supposedly the thinking, moneyed class versus Yap’s 39%? Or why in the youth market (ages 18-24) Yap was very much ahead of Evasco to the ratio of  72% vs 18%.Or what can be done in districts where their candidates are doing so badly?

So, instead of dumping the scientific data as garbage, why not restrategize so that the partisans’ candidate can gain headway in the youth or DE markets where they may be faring poorly? Notice for example that despite the shellacking Yap got in the ABC market, he still “won” overall simply because the income strata in the country (including Bohol) portrays a preponderance of those in the DE market. And so on.

Besides, the acknowledged margin of error of HNU is +- 5 %, so in the extreme case, errors subsumed, it could only be 48% Yap and 40% Evasco for all we really know.  There is so much track to cover ahead, and maybe it is not the time to panic as of yet.

There is so much more science in the HNU survey than what many people are willing to give credit for. Corolarrily, the more we abuse people’s intelligence by portraying “rigged” surveys as truth for partisan purposes- time will come when the electorate will simply treat these surveys mostly as a joke. 

For there is always a price to pay for everything in the long run. So, as Mainstream Media, we repeat what Fox News Credo implies on whether you should believe in surveys or not. 

We say “We Report, You Decide”. Enough.

For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com or bohol-rd@mozcom.com

 

OTHER HNU FIRST SURVEY “WINNERS”

 

IT APPEARS, THE VICE GUBERNATORIAL and the 2nd district congressional fights have been accidentally excluded in the  HNU survey. The other results:

In the 3rd district, there seems to be a statistical tie between BM A Tutor (33%), VG D. Balite (30%), and former Mayor Che de Los Reyes (21%). Yap’s protégé  Caloy Fernando lags at only 5% in a district that had  Yap trounced Evasco in the surveys by a wide margin; also is Yap’s bailiwick. All in politics is “very local”?

In the first district, Governor Edgar Chatto (86%) is miles away from former city mayor Dan Lim (14%)  while the latter’s wife Sharleen Lim (6%) lags even farther from incumbent mayor Baba Yap  (90%), Is this pre-election picture giving the former city mayor’s family a potential Political Waterloo in May?

But as we said, the race has just begun- there, they go.

For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com or bohol-rd@mozcom.com



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