PRESIDENTIAL RACE 2016 TIGHTENS UP

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PRESIDENTIAL RACE 2016 TIGHTENS UP

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The latest  March SWS 2016 presidential preference of about  (projected) 50 million Filipino voters has tightened with the statistical tie between VP Jojo Binay and Senator Grace Poe.

Since there is a plus/minus 3 % margin of error, the March results of Binay’s 36% and that of Senator Grace at 31% is a statistical tie. Ask your favorite statistician.

The complete results of the March surveys are: Binay (36%), Grace Poe (31%), Mar Roxas (15%), Rodrigo Duterte (15%), Miriam Santiago (11%), Erap Estrada (11%), Chiz Escudero (8%) , Bongbong Marcos (7%) and Allan Cayetano (4%). A huge 12% is still undecided- making the race even tighter.

Of the above “in the running ” 9 candidates or non-candidates,  only two are from LGU with executive positions Binay and Duterte, mayors respectively of Makati and Davao cities; the rest  of the 7 are glaringly all senators. Erap was/is San Juan and Manila mayor- but he served as senator as well.

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Binay, of course, tried to uphold  his turf  saying that those with  local executive exposure  (like himself) as governors and mayors have a better feel of the needs of the people and are therefore likely to become more effective country presidents. True or not?  Are they better than senators?

The Vice President, then, reiterated that most American presidents were from the local executives than Congress, Our research does not produce conclusive figures about Binay’s Theory.

Since the 1787 founding of the presidential system in America, 17 of the 43 presidents (40%) were LGU executives and 4 of the last 6 US presidents were once governors of the states : Jimmy Carter (Governor of Georgia  1971-1974), Ronald Reagan ( Governor of California 196701974), Bill Clinton (Governor of Arkansas from 1979-1980 then 1983-1993) and George W Bush (Governor Texas 1995-2000).

But the danger of such kind of analysis is that it may be comparing apples with oranges. For the American system is presidential but  a Federal type which means that the states (where the governor lords over) has ample executive power and fiscal autonomy compared to the Philippine type of LGUs who are characterized by their utter dependence upon Imperial Manila, making them less challenged.

But the other side of the debate  can also cite statistics that of the 43 US presidents, 16 of them were also former senators. Among them are: Richard Nixon, John F Kennedy , Lyndon Johnson and ,of course, Barack Obama. Other than the above, those US senators who eventually became president include: Monroe, Adams, Jackson, Harding, Van Buren, Tyler, Pierce, Buchanan, Andrew Jackson, Ben Harrison,  and Harry Truman.

So 17 LGU executives and 16 senators eventually becoming American presidents is pretty much an equal billing, to our mind.

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What about the Philippines? Well, only 5 of the 15  (30%) Philippine presidents since Emilio Aguinaldo were non-senators; the rest of the 11 were senators.  The non-senators are Aguinaldo, Ramon Magsaysay , Diosdado Macapagal (a congressman), Cory Aquino (largely a housewife) and Fidel V Ramos (Defense Chief)-not even LGU officials of note.

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But the following senators (10 0f 15 or 70%) eventually  became presidents:  Manuel Quezon, Jose P. Laurel, Sergeo Osmena, Manuel Roxas, Elpidio Quirino, Carlos Garcia, Ferdinand Marcos , Erap Estrada, Gloria Arroyo and Noynoy Aquino.

This “offensive” of the Binay camp versus senators’ vis-a-vis LGUs came in heels of the VP’s precarious and consistent slide in the surveys (both SWS and Pulse). For instance in the SWS |presidential preference 2016 survey”, Binay dropped from 71% in March 2014 to a low 36% in March 2015- a severe  drop of 36 percentage points.

This is confirmed further by the people’s “Approval Rating” of Binay which collapsed straight out in the 5 consecutive  quarterly surveys or 15 months:  March 2014 (73%), June 214 (67%), September 2014 (52%),  December 2014 (44%) and  now March at a very low (31%) or a percentage points drop of a debilitating 42%.

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In our judgment , on a strictly one-on-one race between VP Binay and Senator Grace, the neophyte female has more than a Chinaman’s chance of winning. Except for Bong Marcos (7%) , much of the 54% (currently held) by Duterte, Erap (mostly, because he will endorse Poe over the VP, so he says), Santiago, Escudero, and Cayetano would likely go to senator Poe than to Jojo Binay. Even the marginal votes of a a Trillanes and a Lacson voter would likely convert to senator Grace.

The “Conversion Probability” is a crucial tool for a “win analysis” since many of the named “candidates” will eventually-  NOT  run for president.

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The frightening trend in the surveys had  caused the die-hard Liberals to immediately issue press statements that Mar Roxas will be soon  named official LP candidate by July, some hinting that Grace Poe will be an ideal vice presidential partner.

The problem with that “Synergism Analysis” is a popular VP’s color cannot be transferred to his presidential team mate. It never happened in popular Erap’s VP win (1992) where his presidential tandem Danding Cojuangco was clobbered severely and never  happened in (1998) when the popular GMA’s vice presidential triumph did not help her team mate Edgardo Angara to become  President.

A Grace Poe-Mar Roxas team up would be an ideal team if one drops the purely partisan reasons that Roxas has been a pure LP and Grace Poe only a Coalition Supporter and should be the LP bet for 2016. But perhaps one  should not be too  myopic and fail to see which bridge leads faster to Malacanang in 2016.

Mar Roxas is still young and be an energetic president in  2022. As VP and an “original ” LP member- he can haver as much clout as his president will allow him- given Mar’s impressive administrative record and unsullied integrity. But can his wife broadcaster Korina Sanchez wait? She has been officially calling herself  (for the  first time) these days as “Korina Sanchez- Roxas” and hubby Mar has been seen – kissing babies.

Tell tale signs? Irreversible conjugal decision?  Is it good for the country?Can Mar win?

It’s a serious question the LP must think over like sages- if they want to retain political control and prevent pet peeve VP Binay from lording over the Palace as he did in Makati City.  But will they?

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

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