I am not in any way connected with Pulse Asia. While going through their results, I found some interesting things about the ‘Undecided’ group. For strategic think tanks seeking to swing the tide of opinion from one to the other, they should mine the data on the ‘Undecideds’ especially if the percentages show 20-30 percent incidence on particular issues. The 2010 elections and Charter Change are examples.
For 65% of Filipinos, there is a big possibility that the next elections will push through according to schedule – a sentiment shared by small to big majorities (55% to 76%) across geographic areas and socio-economic classes.
A bare majority of Filipinos (51%) is of the opinion that the postponement or cancellation of the May 2010 elections will cause much trouble in the country.
Additional Findings: The Undecided
It would be helpful to look at the ‘Undecided’ group as this could be the swing vote to the issues at hand and can still be influenced in the political debate. Already the group was less by about 10 percent from October 2008 to February 2009; more are making their stand.
Between October 2008 and February 2009 surveys, the notable shifts among the ‘Undecided’ are:
1. Possibility of 2010 elections:
There were less ‘undecided’ nationwide, from 30 percent in October 2008 down to 22 percent in February 2009. In the Visayas, there were 16 percent less ‘undecided’; in Mindanao, 10 percent less; and in class E, 15 percent more.
An additional 6 percent nationwide felt that there is now a big possibility that the 2010 elections will push through. In the Visayas, there were 23 percent more who felt that there is a big possibility; in Mindanao, 11 percent more; and in socio-economic Class E, 15 percent more.
There were insignificant shifts in opinions among the undecided in NCR and the rest of Luzon, and Classes ABC and D from October 2008 to February 2009.
2. Much trouble, if no elections?
There were less ‘undecided’ nationwide, from 29 percent in October 2008 down to 21 percent in February 2009. In the Rest of Luzon, there were 13 percent less ‘undecided’; in the Visayas, 9 percent less; in Class ABC, 9 percent less; and in class E, 15 percent less.
There was an almost even split from among the ranks of the ‘undecided’ in October 2008, to among those who foresaw much trouble if there were no elections in 2010 and to among those who did not in the Rest of Luzon and the Visayas. (February 2009)
However among Classes ABC and E, there was a significant shift of the ‘undecided’ in October 2008 to among those who felt in February 2009 that much trouble would ensue if there were no elections in 2010.
It is interesting that the gain in Mindanao of those who foresaw much trouble in February 2009 came not from the ‘Undecided’, but from those who did not foresee such in October 2008.
Shifts have not been discernible in NCR as the percentage changes have remained the same (57 agree and 22 disagree) as of October 2008 to (55 agree and 23 disagree), in February 2009. Class D ratios also essentially remained the same (49:25 agree:disagree to 51:27)
Events prior to or during the survey
Pulse Asia also reported that during the period prior to and the conduct of this survey, the news headlines focused on the alleged bribery of several officials from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in relation to a drug case; the reported bid rigging behind road projects in the country being funded by the World Bank (WB); the planned automation of the May 2010 elections; the revival of congressional discussions on constitutional amendments; controversies involving the Supreme Court including the aborted plan to file impeachment charges against Chief Justice Reynato Puno; the closure of some companies and the laying off of workers both here and abroad; the Arroyo administration’s efforts to create jobs and provide assistance to laid off workers; and, the US Presidential election and the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
I would also add that the consumer price index (CPI) slowed down from 11.2 percent in October 08 down to 7.3 percent in February 09 due to stable food prices and lower fuel costs.
Some pointed questions:
· The news did not (significantly) move NCR nor class D (the masa), in spite of the bad, even scandal-ridden, news.
· GMA’s spinmeisters making inroads among these groups? And/or people just getting more confused or indifferent? GMA being lucky with good weather and favorable price developments of crude oil?
· Rallies in NCR not worth mounting at this time, with the masa feeling so-so?
· Mindanao residents and class E households tending to be more militant … and passionate about the 2010 elections.
· Are the Cha-cha advocates reading into this?