IN a TV interview, the late President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s spokesman was obviously whistling past the graveyard when he insisted that “gravity” would be pulling down presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s high, over-50 percent ratings as voters’ choice in various opinion surveys.
That reminded me of a favorite analogy of a witty political and business analyst in the 1990s. He referred to the taipans who have amassed so much resources that they will practically never go bankrupt since they have achieved “escape velocity” and are “in orbit”, beyond gravity’s pull.
Going by surveys by different pollsters — even one commissioned by Leni Robredo’s supporter Albert del Rosario — and a most recent one by the Marcos Media Bureau’s Swiss consultant who polled 3,600 respondents, Marcos seems to now be beyond gravity. Robredo, going by the numbers, as well as other aspirants have been dismal “failures to launch.” (Note the respondents numbered 3,600 compared to the 1,200 usually polled by most polling firms, which means a very small margin of error of plus or minus 1 percent.)
In the Swiss consultant’s poll, Marcos is the choice of 62 percent of respondents, up from the 51 percent preference reported by the most recent Social Weather Station poll. Robredo’s has gone down from the 20 percent in the first week of December to 15 percent in the most recent poll (Table 1).
What is informative in the Marcos camp’s poll is that it also asked respondents their perceptions of the candidates, which turns out to confirm the voting preferences, as shown in Table 2.
One of the poll’s metrics that measures whether respondents may still change their preferences on May 22 confirms my thesis of Marcos having achieved “escape velocity.”
Some 46 percent of the respondents choosing Marcos say they won’t change their mind, compared to only 9 percent for Robredo. That means that in a worst-case scenario for Marcos, he will still get 46 percent votes. In Robredo’s case, a mere 1 percent
It is only in the Bicol/Mimaropa and Western Visayas regions that the percentages of those choosing Robredo and who say they won’t change their minds are more than 10 percent, 38 percent for the former and 19 percent for the latter.
The poll commissioned by the Marcos camp also reported that 77 percent of its respondents “favored” President Duterte, which however was a dip from his 84 percent “favorability” in its previous April 2021 poll. (This 77 percent rating though is higher than PUBLiCUS Asia’s “approval” rating in its December 6 to 10 poll and Pulse Asia’s 72 percent in December 1 to 6 survey.
The Marcos camp’s poll shows that whether a deliberate strategy or not, Duterte’s non-endorsement of Marcos’ candidacy may have even helped Bongbong. According to the poll, 47 percent want the country “to take the direction Duterte has been leading to,” while 49 percent “want the country to go into a new direction.”
Marcos’ attractiveness as president therefore is not affected by those who dislike Duterte as the President hasn’t endorsed him. But the fact that his daughter Sara is his running mate sends the message that he is covertly doing so.
What I myself found surprising in this survey is that the late President Marcos had a high “favorability” rating of 72 percent, higher than former president Estrada’s 46 percent and the President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s 41 percent.
Marcos Sr.’s favorability rating has in fact been rising, from 45 percent in 2009 to 55 percent in February 2016 to the latest 72 percent, just a few percentage points from Duterte’s 77 percent. I was wrong in my thinking then that his father’s demonization by the Reds and Yellows would be Bongbong’s insurmountable obstacle in the elections.
Or did Bongbong’s running for president stimulate the revival of interest in his father’s real record, his behavior serving to disprove in people’s minds his father’s demonization?
This is amazing: despite the power of the Yellows and Reds’ propaganda machine that has portrayed Marcos Sr. for three decades and a half as a “plunderer and ruthless dictator,” the majority of Filipinos don’t believe this, and favor him and his rule.
This points to the Yellows and Pinks’ colossal error in the current election campaign. Their propaganda has focused on demonizing Marcos Sr., while most Filipinos don’t think of him as being so. This most likely backfired, as Filipinos would have disfavored the camp that has been disseminating what they think are lies, and favored Bongbong whom they see as unjustly persecuted.
If most Filipinos don’t see Marcos Sr. as bad and his era as horrific, shouldn’t the intellectual sector humble themselves and undertake a more objective, unbiased study of the martial law period to find out the truth, rather than uncritically believe the claims the Yellows and the Reds have been disseminating?
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