MANILA, Philippines—Surveys don’t decide the outcome of elections, voters do.
Senatorial candidate Richard Gordon has slammed the inordinate focus on surveys, saying the voting public must be given reports on the promises, platforms and capabilities of candidates instead of conditioning them about the possible results of the polls.
Gordon, who is running under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), said there is a tendency to fall into the trap of advertising and surveys, which he acknowledged are part of a democracy. He ranked 13th to 16th in the latest Pulse Asia survey.
“You know, when you talk about surveys, what possible good is there to be gained from knowing the result before the starting gate?” Gordon told reporters in a recent interview.
He noted that in many reports, those who are not in the top 12 or the winners’ circle are not even mentioned.
“There is mind conditioning. Are we happy with that? If that will be the case, let the surveys decide [the results of the election],” he added.
Not against surveys
Gordon said he is not against surveys in general, since he had used these to test the strengths or weaknesses of a product when he used to work for a private firm.
But in a political exercise, he said surveys only help businesses like consumer research services and media establishments because candidates would want their own surveys conducted and their advertisements placed based on these surveys.
Gordon also suspected that there are manipulations in survey rankings.
He said surveys put him in dismal rankings during the 2004 senatorial elections. He started at No. 35, and was
No. 29 when he filed his certificate of candidacy.
But he knew he was going to win based on feedback from his interaction with the public. When the 2004 elections were over, he ranked fifth overall.
In 2010, when Gordon was running for the presidency, he sued the survey firms Pulse Asia and Social Weather Station to stop them from conducting and publishing preelection surveys, and said they should be made to answer for their misleading reports. He said in his complaint that the survey firms lacked scientific rigor, professionalism and ethical conduct in conducting the preelection surveys.
Gordon said he has decided not to pay much attention to surveys, confident that he could fight his way to the top of the ranks.
“Even if you put me at dead last, I will fight it. I know myself,” he said.
He said he had triumphed over many adversities, such as the Mt. Pinatubo eruption that covered his province of Olongapo in lahar and left many people despondent and homeless.
He also said he had been able to launch the “Wow Philippines” campaign as tourism secretary even if his department did not have much of a budget. He had also helped the Philippine Red Cross thrive and increase the number of ambulances, he added.