OPINION: When those surveyed are lying

june 1, 2013

By Cha Monforte

There are statistical lessons learned in our localities in the last elections we have.

I don’t know if Mahar Mangahas has his calibration in knowing if whom the SWS surveyed are lying. I mean, grossly lying. Of course, there’s that margin of error, 2 or 5 percent, plus or minus. It’s used after all the surveying and computations are made. There’s that statistical theory about what a random, non-biased part, the sample of population says is true to the whole. But what if the majority of that part lie, and hence their lies have been embedded in the questionnaires or tally notes before the tabulation begins?

Philippine Councilors League Academy national director Larry Caminero, in his recent column in a local weekly in Davao del Norte, said that perhaps those surveyed in Tagum City close before the polls were lying when surveyed. For “fear of being reprimanded” that they said otherwise. Majority of the interviewees, in an info he got, cast their favor to defeated Councilor De Carlo “Oyo” Uy, who at the end, lost to now Mayor-elect VM Allan Rellon. Before the campaign started, Rellon accordingly was ahead to Oyo in a pre-campaign survey.

Ateneo de Davao and Xavier U in CDO had their surveys at least not not departing so much when poll results came closely jibing with their survey tabulations. Where lies the problem? Maybe the survey methodology and the surveyors did not report what they truly got from the ground. Or maybe the assuming local pollster can’t justify the money he got if he truly feed the unfavorable tabulation results to his patron. Else, he failed to factor in a caveat and assumption after all the tabulations were done. But this is already tinkering the stats.

SWS might have done its job well when it predicted an average of 80 percent fill-up rate among voters in the last polls. Voters chose and did select. They did not blindly vote all to follow the all-zero campaign of the administration. Now, a lot of our municipalities and cities in Davao Region have 2-3 councilors-elect from independent or opposition candidates mixing with the administration winners from Liberal Party LP or ruling incumbents.

Maybe the winds of change were blowing strongly in several parts of Mindanao. CDO Mayor Dongkoy Emano was unseated. So with the one endorsed by outgoing Iligan City Mayor Lawrence Cruz. The two had bunch of alleged scam issues. Tagum City Mayor Rey “Cee O” Uy had a leading issue on the excessive taxes. Valencia City Mayor Leandro Catarata failed in his bid for a last term with a lot of alleged scams hounding him. Ex-Mayor and Sandigan-convicted ex-Mayor Jose Galario defeated Catarata after trying twice in the previous polls. The Sandiganbayan convicted Galario to six years imprisonment after it found him guilty of violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which Galario appealed before the Sandiganbayan.

Perhaps the wind of change was blowing so strongly in Davao del Sur when the voters did prefer to see two Cagases losing. Incumbent Governor Douglas Cagas lost to incumbent Digos City Mayor Joseph Peñas. Cagas’ son Cong. Marc Douglas Cagas also failed to get the governor’s post against now Gov-elect Claude Bautista. Gov. Dodo’s wife last-termer Board Member Mercedes “Didi” however won to succeed his first district Cong. Marc Douglas.

Somehere, somehow and sometime many politicians have benefited from pre-poll surveys. In the late 80s, I came to know about a story of an entrenched politician, whose family was long-reigning in Comval’s politics. He chose to be practical in the last hour when confronted by an honest survey results that showed he’d be losing so badly in the polls. He chose not to release anymore his bags of money for vote buying against the big wishes of his political leaders.The chance was great against him even if he would buy votes. He conceded before he lost. That’s fine with him than lost also his millions that his leaders would partly rip off.

SWS and Mangahas might be now laughing best, spending the millions they got out from their survey business. Pre-poll survey is still valuable to politicians and is a business to the doer. SWS might have been telling truly to its sponsor provided that if the survey results are on negative side, it shouldn’t bare the stats to the media. Do it for media’s frenzy when it’s positive to the sponsor. That’s part of the contract.

Losing local politicians should now realize that surveys even if the results are bad are for their own good. They better hire tested independent, academe-based pollsters next time around and not those pretenders who are inside their camps during campaign seasons. An insider self-proclaimed pollster or surveyor is always a suspect. He has interests to protect- his handsome survey fees. He is enveloped in a politically bias environment. He has a hard time reading the true pulse and temper of the people in an epoch they’re are currently in. He is not independent. He just can’t factor in and calibrate what those in the nooks and corners, sari-sari stores and tubaans in downtrodden villages have been saying in gist and whispers to counter-check his lying survey results. This pollster pretender has a hard-time telling his patron, “boss, you’ll be losing in this election!” (for comments/reactions: email: chamonforte@yahoo.com, o post comment in his Facebook Cha Monforte)


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