The Phenomenon on Poll Surveys

Manila Bulletin, March 23, 2007 | Go to article overview
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The Phenomenon on Poll Surveys

ELECTION time doubly makes poll surveys controversial, and the raging topic of conversations in media, citizens forums, school convocations, church meetings, breakfast clubs, and even in the family dining table.

Such questions as their methodology, framing of questions, number and gender of respondents, their economic strata, and, more importantly, who commissions them are inputs that all the more stir debates.

Are survey results reliable?

I finished some units in statistics and consumer surveys when taking up public relations in college. And was put in charge of consumer surveys -- attitudinal, preferential and quantitative -- in my advertising agency years. The results, indeed, helped clients in their marketing and corporate decisions.

Today's professional practitioners who are conducting intelligent opinion surveys are adequately trained and took post-graduate studies, and even possess doctoral degrees in that field of discipline obtained here and abroad. Accuracy is always their goal. But human idiosyncrasy being what it is can alter some findings, but these are at the slightest margin.

Political and social scientists at the helm of the country's opinion survey firms -- Social Weather Station, Pulse Asia, Ibon Foundation, Consumer Research and Survey -- may have variance in some findings but generally their reports can be viewed as fairly unimpeachable.

In the face of current poll surveys on senatorial aspirants, these scientists are faced with an astounding phenomenon -- the consistent topping of Loren Legarda. In all these findings, since September and November last year, she always occupies the No. 1 slot.

Why is she the top preference of voters, men and women and even the youth? First, like a leading brand of shampoo or beauty soap, she has a lovable image. I think no one can dispute that. Who can forget, for example, her countrywide environment-enhancement drive called Luntiang Pilipinas?

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