RESEARCH commissioned by presidential aspirants Isko Moreno and Leni Robredo confirm through their own surveys, focus groups and analysis that Ferdinand (“Bongbong”) Marcos Jr. is way ahead of them in the presidential contest, with their own numbers indicating that his lead will unlikely be reduced by May.
The poll was commissioned by Isko and done by WN Numero — a new company set up by relatively young PhDs — even implies that the only way a Marcos presidency can be avoided would be for him to be disqualified from running. In such a scenario, its polls say the Manila mayor would win as he is the second choice of all voters, preferred by 28 percent of its respondents as against 9 percent for Robredo.
Although it uses a mobile phone-based method of polling, the WN Numero’s survey results are quite close to those of other pollsters, which use face-to-face interviews. According to WR Numero’s 10 such surveys, Marcos was preferred by 49 percent in October last year. This rose to 59 percent in its latest January 2 to 6 survey. The poll done by the Marcos camp, using face-to-face interviews of 3,600 respondents, put the figure at 62 percent.
WN Numero’s is the first survey I’ve seen that quantifies one explanation for Marcos’ lead, that even if President Rodrigo Duterte has not endorsed him, he is nevertheless identified with his governance. Even if Duterte had even criticized him, 28 percent of respondents prefer him “as he will continue what Duterte started,” the Isko study reported.
In the response to the survey’s question, “Who do you think is like Duterte?” 68 percent chose Bongbong, with only 9 percent picking Moreno. Some 21 percent, on the other hand, chose him as “he will continue the work of his father Ferdinand Marcos Sr.” Some 20 percent said they will vote for Bongbong because he “implemented good programs in Ilocos Norte when he was senator,” 17 percent because he is “honest, trustworthy and with integrity,” and 7 percent because his vice-presidential running mate is Sara Duterte.
What some would interpret as meaning that Bongbong has all but clinched the presidency is the Isko study’s finding that if 68 percent of those voting for him are “hard voters,” or those who will not change their mind, he will definitely get a 39 percent of votes (the same as Duterte’s in 2016) in May, still a mile away from Robredo’s 10 percent with the same percentage of hard voters. (The study commissioned by the Marcos camp I reported on last Friday had a lower percentage of hard voters for him, 50 percent.)
On the other hand, the research done by Robredo’s camp was not a poll but a report on “focus groups” (discussion with three to five participants) together with the author’s analysis. The author or the firm which did it though was not named, with the report entitled “Il Figlio.” That is Italian for “The Son,” which I can only guess is a reference to Bongbong, the son of Ferdinand, whom Robredo must defeat.
The Robredo study though practically goes overboard in explaining why Bongbong Marcos (BBM) is ahead of the polls while Robredo is way behind. It reports that “regardless of disposition for BBM,” spontaneous associations for Leni are mostly on: her being a laughingstock, her association with the Liberal Party, and her husband, and how her story is akin to Cory Aquino’s.‘Lugaw’ vs ‘Matalino’: From Robredo study ‘Project Il Figlio.’
The perception, the study said, is that as vice president, she was not able to accomplish anything, that she lacks experience and the competency to run for president, and that she was “the face of disunity during Duterte’s admin.”
On the other hand, the Robredo-commissioned study concluded, “there is a clear imagery for BBM and there are spontaneous associations for him, which are a mix of positive functional and emotional characteristics, and also the appreciation of the legacy of his father.”
If one understands the power of “archetypes” in our consciousness, as first described by Carl Jung and developed by psychologists, BBM’s popularity cannot be dented in just four months or so until the elections.
The Robredo study pointed out: “Archetypes are symbolic images we unconsciously understand. Jung used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche. He identified 12 universal, mythic characters, archetypes that reside within our collective unconscious. Jung defined 12 primary types that represent the range of basic human motivations. Each of us tends to have one dominant archetype that dominates our personality.”
The Robredo study continued: “BBM’s imagery seems to straddle between a hero and magician. Hero: BBM is perceived as someone that would address the needs of the people and lift the Philippine economy up. Magician: Perception is that just like his father, BBM has the vision to bring the Philippines forward and onward.”
“As such, the more issues thrown at him appear to further strengthen his ‘hero’ imagery,” the study pointed out, and added issues against BBM “failed to incite doubt against him.”
The study didn’t say which archetype describes Robredo. I don’t think there is, which explains why her PR people have tried and failed different images of her, from a mother to a comic character. She’s a nobody. How could she compete with a ‘Hero’ and a ‘Magician’?
The study says that the Robredo camp should adopt the “Caregiver” archetype as her overall imagery. But in this country, “caregiver” means somebody who cares for the elderly. Why would anyone vote for a caregiver to the presidency?
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