The Freeman

Again, of surveys and voters


From what used to be just at least two survey institutio­ns more than 30 years ago, pollsters tackling almost everything about daily life are now everywhere, sprouting like mushrooms across the country.

In the 1990s, when the Social Weather Station or Pulse Asia released the result of a survey it undertakes on a certain issue, the people would then tend to believe that the poll carried the general sentiment of the masses.

Such public reaction to the survey was widely expected considerin­g the fact that the two survey establishm­ents used a system that helped them deliver a more credible output.

But now pollsters are everywhere. In fact, one who possesses the title of being a social influencer can become a street pollster, like what we are seeing nowadays on social media, where many page owners roam around asking the people who they will vote for in the coming presidenti­al election.

This raises some serious questions about the accuracy of surveys because, in the absence of a systematic approach, the results can be misleading.

A case in point was the recent eyebrowrai­sing poll conducted in Cebu City where the incumbent chief executive, Michael Rama, was unbelievab­ly sidelined to almost at the bottom in the survey for mayor despite his good showing in other surveys.

As we gear up for the election this May, we can only expect surveys like this to further flourish because some of them are being commission­ed by camps of candidates wanting to condition the minds of the voters.

That is why many no longer believe in political surveys as a barometer to see the true strength of a political candidate. In fact, they now see them as a perfect weapon to bolster the image of a certain candidate.

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