Age Group Preferences for Presidentiables: Some Observations

Introduction

Pulse Asia had an interesting table on reasons for presidential preference.  The respondent was asked  ‘Bakit po ninyo iboboto si _____ bilang Presidente ng Pilipinas?’  The reasons could be grouped into 3, namely: (a) accomplishments, governance, assistance [1, 2 & 2a], (b) not corrupt, good man/family [3 & 4], and (c) pro-poor [5].

Table 1. Reasons for Preferences for Presidentiables, May 2009-January 2010
Reasons May 09 Aug 09 Oct 09 Dec 09 Possible

Link*

Jan 10
1. Tumutulong, matulungin sa ofw/ibang sector [AID/ASSISTANCE] 6.6 11.8 12 11 Villar, Estrada 11
2. May nagawa, maraming nagawa [ACCOMPLISHMENTS] 11.6 25.3 14 11 Villar, Estrada 16
2a. Magaling/maganda ang palakad, [GOVERNANCE/EXPERIENCE] 4 8 Villar, Estrada 6
3. Hindi corrupt, walang kurakot, malinis [NOT CORRUPT] 7.1 6.3 21.2 21 Aquino 24
4. Mabait, mabuti, reputasyon ng pamilya [GOOD MAN/FAMILY] 5.6 3.7 4.2 12 Aquino 9
5. Makamasa, pagtingin sa mahirap, galling sa hirap [PRO-POOR] 27.3 20.3 12.2 27 Villar, Estrada 24

* Conjectural

Likewise Pulse Asia made available to the public a table showing the preferences of respondents classified by age group, as of January 2010.  I also happened to chance upon a similar table as of December 2009 and put these together in Table 2. .

Table 2. First Choice Presidential Preference, by Age Group
Total 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65 +
Aquino: 22-26 January 2010 37 46 32 32 40 38 42
Aquino: 6-12 December 2009 45 46 43 46 47*
Aquino: Change (8) (11) (14)
Villar: 22-26 January 2010 35 37 42 36 31 28 23
Villar: 6-12 December 2009 23 29 31 25 24*
Villar: Change 12 8 11 11
Estrada: 22-26 January 2010 12 7 14 10 13 15 16
Estrada: 6-12 December 2009 19 16 18 17 17*
Estrada: Change (7) (9) (4) (7)
Teodoro: 22-26 January 2010 5 5 4 6 7 4 3
Teodoro: 6-12 December 2009 5 4 3 6 5*
Teodoro: Change 1 1
Others: 22-26 January 2010 5 3 4 7 2 6 6
Others: 6-12 December 2009 3 4 4 4 4*
Others: Change 2 (1) 3
None/refused/undecided: Jan 10 6 2 4 9 7 9 10
None/refused/undecided: Dec 09 4 1 1 2 3*
None/refused/undecided: Change 2 1 3 7

Note: * – for 45+; no details on breakdown into age groups 45-54, 55-64, and 65+

Changes from December 2009 to January 2010

°         Villar gained shares in most of the age groups, except perhaps in the older age groups.

°         Aquino lost double-digit shares in most of the age groups except for the 18-24 age group, where it remained at the same levels.

°         Estrada also lost shares in most of the age groups.

°         Teodoro had minimal gains in the younger age groups.

°         The Undecideds in the 25+ age groups had increased.

I also tried to look at both tables, correlated the findings of the January 2010 survey with tables from the National Statistics Office website (www.census.gov.ph> and drew out some observations.

Findings of January 2010 Survey

°         Aquino tops 45 years old and over age groups

Those 45 years and over were at least 21 years old in 1986, the year of EDSA 1 and when Cory Aquino took over from Marcos.  Some analysts claim that these are the remains of the ‘Cory magic’ revived last August 2009.  I prefer to add the view that the preference of these age groups for Aquino has now translated to one not corrupt and coming from a good family (Table 1), that is, the fight between good and evil.  The message of anti-corruption of the Aquino campaign has so far given it a [pug] nose ahead in the overall results.

°         Villar leads among 25-44 years old

These age groups were too young during EDSA 1 but were already 16-35 years old in 2001 when Gloria Arroyo took over the deposed Joseph Estrada.   Manuel L. Quezon III presents an intriguing explanation for the support for Villar.

The Arroyo babies are those who have come of age in time for this election and are first-time voters, as well as those who came of age, politically speaking, in the aftermath of Edsa Dos, and voted for the first time in 2004.  That is, those who are 18 to 31 years of age.  The oldest were around 22, seniors or fresh graduates, when Edsa Dos took place.  Perhaps they felt the disappointment of the post-Edsa Dos years (and the panic of Edsa Tres) most keenly—they didn’t go out into the streets during “Hello, Garci” or NBN-ZTE scandals.  The middle includes those who were college freshmen during “Hello, Garci,” and who are 22 years old today, fresh graduates who may not have participated in rallies during “Hello, Garci” but who expressed indignation over the NBN-ZTE hearings….

Let me close with two opinions from this age group. One who belongs to the older range of the spectrum puts it this way: “Erap was tried and found guilty, hence his current standing. We tolerated Gloria because nothing has been proven. Hence, same with Villar: nothing has been proven, and he says he cares for the poor, so, vote for him.” Another, more in the middle of this age group, says, “The numbers say that we have resigned and accepted corruption as a fact of life since we became very politically aware in Edsa Dos.”  http://politics.inquirer.net/view.php?db=1&article=20100204-251178

Let me add the tables on NSO data on age distribution of unemployment and overseas Filipinos to the discussion and the reasons for the preference of these age groups for Villar might become apparent.

Table 3. UNEMPLOYED PERSONS, Philippines, October 2009
Number (in thousands) 2,719 2,525
AGE GROUP (in percent)
Total 100 100
15 – 24 50.3 52
25 – 34 29.7 27.3
35 – 44 9.8 9.9
45 – 54 6.5 6.7
55 – 64 3 3.5
65 and Over 0.6 0.6

The age groups 25-44 year old actually represent the second largest group of unemployed, after the 15-24 age group.  The latter however includes those of age 15-17 and without additional information as of this time, I would leave out discussion of the 15-24 or 18-24 group later.

Table 4. OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS, 2008
Both Sexes Male Female
Number (In thousands)
Philippines 2,002 1,034 968
Age Group (in percent)
Total 100 100 100
15 – 24 10 6.7 13.5
25 – 29 25.7 22.8 28.8
30 – 34 21 21.8 20.3
35 – 39 15.1 14.7 15.6
40 – 44 11.8 13.2 10.3
45 and over 16.4 20.8 11.6

Again the 25-44 years old age groups form the bulk of the Filipino overseas workers.

The Villar infomercials invariably talk about the promise of employment and livelihood, and support for the overseas workers.  The Aquino infomercials do not or have not.

°         Aquino the preference of the 18-24 years old

These young voters were born during the Cory presidency, and were 9-15 years old when Arroyo took over the Presidency and saw both economic growth, and increase in poverty and many other (negative) developments.  I wonder if they were able to relate to the Cory magic and/or find the anti-corruption message more important than the offer of jobs and support at this time.

Undecided

The percentages in the older age groups 35 years old and more are still significant (Table 2).  The infomercials of the two leading candidates, nor of the rest, have not shown all the qualities that the voters are looking for in a candidate.  The qualities looked mutually exclusive: one as not corrupt and one providing jobs, support and experience.  Certainly that is not the case.

Note

It is only the start of the campaign period.  What we saw were infomercials or marketing plugs; not campaign commercials as COMELEC would like to interpret.  Now for the next 88 days the chaff will be hopefully winnowed from the grain.

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