MANILA, Philippines–Do subscribers of poll surveys have anything to do with the results of the surveys on prospective winners in the May 13 senatorial election?
The campaign manager of the United Nationalist Alliance wants both the Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia to disclose all subscribers to their respective surveys, citing a Commission on Elections regulation.
Rep. Toby Tiangco made the call after UNA candidates’ ranking in the Magic 12 began falling, a development UNA fears might influence voters. But Tiangco said he simply wanted pollsters to abide by the Comelec rule requiring public disclosure of subscribers whenever results were published.
In a letter dated Feb. 28, Tiangco formally asked SWS President Mahar Mangahas to divulge “the identity of the persons who paid for the said survey as well as all those who subscribed to it.”
The letter came shortly after the SWS came out with the results of its Feb. 15-17 survey showing only three UNA candidates–Nancy Binay (7th), Rep. JV Ejercito (9th to 10th), and ex-Rep. Juan Miguel Zubiri (11th to 12th)–in the winning circle.
In his reply on March 4, Mangahas said the “published portion of the SWS survey of February 15-17, 2013 consisted only of the national findings regarding one question on voters’ preference for senatorial candidates in the coming 2013 election.”
“The relevant question item was asked on SWS’ own account, and was specifically for public disclosure,” Mangahas wrote. “It was not commissioned or paid for by anyone. No SWS subscriber directed SWS to ask the question.”
Tiangco noted that UNA suffered a beating in the February SWS survey after he decided not to subscribe anymore.
He said UNA earlier subscribed based on SWS’ Oct. 31, 2012 proposal that would cost the coalition P1 million for each of the “six survey rounds” (November 2012, January 2013, February 2013, March 2013, April 2013, and May 2013).
But in another letter dated Nov. 14, SWS raised the rate from P1 million to P1.9 million to be paid “before the start of each survey round.”
Tiangco furnished the Philippine Daily Inquirer copies of the SWS proposals, including his exchange of letters with the SWS.
“This is to confirm our understanding that you are contributing to the fund Social Weather Stations to conduct the SWS Pre-Election Surveys,” Mangahas wrote Tiangco.
When he said UNA could not afford the price adjustment and would no longer subscribe, Tiangco said he was told that the SWS was willing to revert to the original rate.
“What kind of negotiation was that?” he said. “First, they said it was P1 million, then they raised it to P1.9 million. And when I decided not to subscribe anymore, they said they could go back to the original price.”
Tiangco refused to make any direct connection between his decision not to subscribe any more to the SWS with the result of the February SWS survey.
“That’s why I want them to disclose who their subscribers are and we’ll leave it to the public to judge for themselves,” he said.