Erap, Isko locked in battle of surveys
MANILA, Philippines — Just days before the midterm elections, Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada and one of his staunchest rivals for the city’s top post, former Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, have released statements citing surveys that show them winning the race.
But in a country obsessed with personality politics, do surveys really matter?
“Studies have shown us that time and time again, there’s no bearing come election time and surveys don’t produce a bandwagon effect,” political analyst Ramon Casiple told the Inquirer in an interview.
Casiple said a survey he recently came across claimed that Estrada was leading while another claimed it was Moreno. A third survey said none of the three candidates, including former Mayor Alfredo Lim, had a clear advantage over the others.
“Let’s just laugh right now. Because which one should we believe?” Casiple said.
On May 4, Moreno’s campaign team sent an e-mail to the Inquirer, claiming he “has widened his lead over rival candidates…”
“Domagoso got 50 percent of the vote in the latest poll conducted by RP Mission and Development Foundation Inc. from April 27 to May 1. The previous poll conducted from April 1 to 8 [placed] Domagoso at 47 percent … [compared to] his closest rival, incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada who only got 33 percent. Former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim got only 15 percent,” it said.
But the statement put out by Estrada’s camp had a different story. Based on the Filipino-Chinese Independent Business Coalition survey conducted from April 24 to 27, he was leading the race.
While surveys do not create a bandwagon effect, Casiple said politicians are still apprehensive about its possible effects, prompting them to come up with their own.
Surveys, he noted, had more to do with “covering all bases.”
“None of the candidates want to get one-upped by the other, so if one comes up with a survey result, the opponent produces one, too,” he said.