Analytics firm outlines action plan for prexy bets in last few weeks before May polls
MANILA, Philippines — Surveys may be a good indication of who is leading and who will lose in an election, but the country has seen a number of instances where rankings take a backstage once voters get to their precincts and cast their ballots.
With less than a month before May 9, media analytics firm Isentia Philippines laid out what presidential candidates for the 2022 polls must do to win, based on content generated on mainstream media and social media sites on the first 30 days of the official campaign period.
According to Isentia, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso leads the top five presidential bets in terms of the overall sentiment of content published either on mainstream media and social media, garnering a net score of +1.63 out of a possible +5.
However, this high rating has not translated to more content on media sites, with Moreno only grabbing five percent of 16,712 news materials and 2.549 million posts and comments on social media — losing in that department to Vice President Leni Robredo (58 percent) and former senator Bongbong Marcos (32 percent).
READ: Leni is leading content driver, but Isko gets best sentiments
Furthermore, Isentia observed that Moreno’s platforms lacked traction, failing to generate social media buzz over his plans if elected president.
“For Moreno, his cemented image was preempted by his personality, positioning, values, and more importantly, messaging. Although where he thrived in branding, he lacked rally behind his platforms,” Isentia Philippines said about Moreno.
“Based on our sampled data, Domagoso was the only candidate who did not generate platform-related traction on social media,” they added.
To counter this, Isentia believes Moreno must maintain his stance — that he is an alternative candidate to Robredo and Marcos — but at the same time show his own platform while enticing voters to switch to him.
“To remedy, Domagoso camp may equip supporters with platform-related materials they can reinforce across all platforms – escalating his favorability further as it can rival the other candidates’ strongest claims. While the #SwitchToIsko is strong, the tag is still indicative of the current political climate rather than of his platforms,” the company said.
“What is important to detail is that a candidate’s image is more powerful and appealing if affirmed by the voters’ perception, a targeted audience. It is critical for Domagoso to continue to set himself apart from the other candidates – to be the alternative option outside dominant political colors and affirm the demand of a niche audience,” it added.
Robredo’s numbers on the other hand appears to be a reminder that generating traffic is only half of the battle, as finding ways to ensure that content is favorable would be important too. Despite having the most traffic, Robredo was only third in overall sentiment, getting a +1.49 score, below Moreno’s +1.63 and Senator Panfilo Lacson’s +1.55.
“Meanwhile, the coverage on endorsements aided Robredo in booking the highest tone rating for the mainstream. However, due to negative criticisms received by the candidate on social media, particularly on Facebook, Robredo landed in third ranking in overall favorability,” Isentia Philippines said.
“In the first 30 days of the official campaign, Robredo’s camp had already covered some provinces across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The massive crowd in her campaign rallies somehow contradicted the pickups of survey ratings wherein Robredo usually only placed second,” it added.
However, Isentia Philippines noted that the behavior of some of Robredo’s supporters have been a downside, as several netizens felt that discussing with the so-called ‘kakampinks’ gave an elitist vibe.
“Meanwhile, even though Robredo successfully banked on the buzz made by Kakampinks in driving positive conversations on social media, a handful of negative pickups also stemmed from the supporters’ behavior. Some netizens claimed that there were kakampinks who tend to give ‘elitist’ remarks when arguing in the digital space,” the company noted.
“The superiority complex of the supporters was deemed problematic as it could prompt the undecided voters into choosing other presidential options instead. Emphasizing that everyone matters, albeit having different opinions, may be beneficial in swaying the undecided to Robredo’s favor,” it added.
Marcos needs to show platform
For Marcos, Isentia Philippines speculated that support for the presidential candidate may be linked to support for her running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of the still-popular President Rodrigo Duterte.
To solidify his campaign, Marcos may use his battlecry of unity as a stepping stone to provide his platform next.
“Looking at the top hashtags used to express support for Marcos Jr., calls to the BBM-Sara tandem seems to be his strength implying that support for him is primarily linked to support for his running mate Mayor Sara Duterte,” the company said.
“While the messaging of unity being strongly driven during their campaign is currently working to their advantage, the UniTeam has room to dive deeper into the details of their platforms and stance on issues as this could enable him to strengthen the support he already has. The success of the messaging of ‘unity’ could serve as their jumping off point for their platform and how he intends to achieve unity among Filipinos,” it added.
As of the latest Pulse Asia survey, Marcos remains ahead of the pack, with 56 percent of respondents picking him if elections were held from March 17 to 21. However, his score was four percentage points less than the February survey.
On the other hand, the camps of Moreno and Robredo believe they have a huge chance for a come-from-behind win in the 2022 polls, with Robredo getting support from 24 percent of the respondents and Moreno being the leading second choice among most voters.
For Lacson and Pacquiao
Lacson, on the other hand, may need to use “untapped opportunities” to improve their strategy. Among those mentioned by Isentia are publicizing his efforts in government despite being initially against it; engaging with supporters; being mindful about his remarks on several issues; and adopting a strong tagline that would indicate his platform and program.
The senator got the second highest net sentiment score, but he only managed to get three percent of the content share in social media and mainstream media.
Similarly, Senator Manny Pacquiao, who was last in engagements and was second-to-the-last in overall sentiment, may improve his campaign by providing a specific approach to his campaign — as Isentia noted that he is the only candidate who failed to employ slogans or hashtags.
“The lack of a hook to tie in his messaging may be leading to less mentions. Pacquiao’s campaign has not displayed any official hashtags, slogans, or campaign colors, unlike most competitors. This played a role in the modest gain in traction for Pacquiao’s campaign despite receiving a generally complimentary reception,” Isentia Philippines said.
“Buzz leaders, like Leni Robredo, generated social media chatter from her supporters’ many movements and slogans. These were easy to relay and helped build conversations from organic mentions around her and her platform. This can help cascade the messaging of Pacquiao’s campaign in a simpler fashion, specifically in social media spaces, where Pacquiao came in last in mentions,” it added.
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