Surveys: instruments of disinformation and deception PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 March 2016 14:51

LOOKING IN

By Rod Balbon

In these days when Comelec rules are violated, words and logic are twisted and given their opposite meanings, facts and data are invented and falsified, we, the electorate must have a duty to be doubly vigilant and must always doubt every claim that political parties throw our way for our political consumption.

Weekly surveys are now being fed us weekly from alleged known and trusted survey organizations like SWS, Pulse Asia, Ibon, Laylo, and what have you. But if one closely analyzes the results of their surveys, the message they want to convey to the public are highly questionable.

Take the case for instance of the survey released by SWS last week which was picked by a national paper and bannered that Poe and Duterte are favored by the electorate to solve the myriad problems besetting our country. I almost fell off my seat after the reading the banner news. As for Duterte, I have no doubt he has the long experience, capacity, and competence to solve the problems of peace and order, unemployment, housing, graft and corruption, mendicancy. But Poe? How can she solve these problems when she has no experience whatsoever nor occupied a government position where these problems are being hailed for solutions? Now if I may regress for a while, the owner or President of SWS, if I may recall, is Mahar Mangahas, allegedly a cousin of the late Fernando Poe, Jr. If he’s not fronting for the organization but only that young guy explaining the results in national TV, then you may know why.

There’s just too much deception, manipulations, dishonesty, and false propaganda invented out of thin air which are being repeated by manipulators, propangandists, and paid hacks in the TV and radio organizations of political parties and candidates. Thus, even if one has no experience, gravitas, political will and determination, and competence to justify their running for the Presidency and solve the gargantuan social, political, and economic problems besetting our country, all he/she has to do is manufacture his first survey, buy all the hacks—journalists, broadcasters, writers, reporters, factotums, and flunkies to vouch and attest for your popularity and competence. Keep on repeating the manufactured survey result and voila, the candidate might even end up believing in his/her own reported popularity rating. There’s no reason stated why he/she is or why he/she should be elected. This is now going on in the national campaign level.

Lest I would be misunderstood, I don’t totally disregard the validity of surveys conducted. In advanced countries like the United States, political surveys have developed into an advance science and a political party will not plan a national campaign without undertaking a political survey or series of surveys to guide their political plans and strategies. But in Singapore, political surveys are taboo, except when it is only for the private or personal use of the party. Their results are barred from being aired or announce to the public as these will only unduly mislead or influence the electorate.

If one only poses and takes a hard look at these surveys, he would find out that the claimed survey results are not verifiable but can only be validated during election day when the voters’ votes are properly counted and tabulated.

Weeks from now, the campaign for local candidates begins, and again, there will be more surveys to be conducted by local group or organizations whose credibility, competence, and moral bearings are highly questionable. Personally, I view all of these as “table surveys”, manufactured and invented to package and popularize candidates who don’t deserve to be elected or re-elected to their positions.

I stopped reading and believing in surveys in 1998 when LAKAS-NUCD presidential candidate Joe de Venecia announced to the nation that based on a latest survey conducted, he’ll beat opposition candidate Erap Estrada by a wide margin. The result? De Venecia was covered and drowned not only by a landslide but by a “landscape” of Erap votes.