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POSTSCRIPT / April 11, 2000 / Tuesday
 
People can see though rigged opinion surveys
By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

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NINE out every 10 POSTSCRIPT readers do not believe the last Social Weather Stations survey reporting a 5-percent net approval rating for President Estrada in the first quarter of this year, duplicating his rating for the last quarter of 1999.

From 85 percent last Saturday, the Doubting Thomases grew to 90 percent yesterday as more responses came in. Readers who said they believed the SWS report fell to 9.7 percent from the previous 12 percent. The rest did not indicate a choice, but merely commented on the issue.

The question asked readers was whether they thought that the SWS report was a “Type I” (for client’s Internal/inside use only) or a “Type O” (put together for Outside or public consumption only).

Most of the incredulous readers said it was highly improbable for President Estrada to have salvaged in just one month his negative 32 percent approval rating in the previous month when he did not do anything spectacular during the short interval.

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UPDATED (revised) notes on the survey of POSTSCRIPT readers:

  • “Type O” got 90 percent of responses; “Type I,” 9.7 percent. The rest did not make a choice, but merely commented.
  • Local respondents comprised 73 percent; foreign-based respondents, most of them in North America and the Middle East, 27 percent.
  • Males dominated the poll, 68 percent; females, 32 percent.
  • The age groups with the most number of respondents were 36 – 40 years old (22 percent), 26 – 30 (17 percent), 31 – 35 (15 percent), 41 – 45 (12 percent), 46 – 50 and 51 – 55 (both 10 percent).
  • Youngest respondent was Jewellyn Dizon, 21, while the oldest was a 70-year-old reader from Caloocan.
  • Six out of every 10 who said the SWS report was “Type I,” or in effect saying it was reliable, were female.

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SAMPLES of comments of respondents:

Ellen, 30, Canada: “Since the last negative survey result, Erap hasn’t done anything right but more booboos instead, so there’s no reason why people would change their mind about his performance/government. Peroexpected na ng mga Pilipino na do-doktorin ang survey figures — just like what Marcos did.”

Macky, 37: “There is a clear statistical anomaly here. Maybe the telephone survey is a bit biased because such type will focus on the class ABC who have the telephones. It is in this class group where the President gets failing marks. Propagandists can play with statistics and lie with them and still come out to look credible because of the ignorance of the majority on this branch of mathematics. The method used for gathering those data is more important than the results.”

AdaDC using aol (AmericaOnLine) address: “Erap doesn’t deserve 5 percent. It has to be -50 percent or much lower. He’s trying to make our country a gambling haven, trying to enrich his Chinese cronies and so forth and so on….”

Vivian Syyap, Minnesota, US: “What does it matter if the survey is either Type I or Type O? The bottom line is the survey results reveal an F grade.”

Ben B. Artiaga, Parañaque: “The net dissatisfaction rating of -1 for NCR is very far from reality as confirmed in the March phone survey and as you may glean from the overwhelming anti-Erap sentiments one can hear from the man in the streets, markets, coffee shops, to the company boardrooms and even in the phone-in polls conducted by public affairs programs in both radio and TV.”

Amy Lo, executive secretary: “Naturally, they will not tell us that the actual and truthful poll result was. It is embarrassing. I suspect they haven’t even told the President that he is that worst. But I don’twant the President to die or to resign. I want him to live and see for himself what havoc he has done to his own life and his family.”

NBCordero, Toronto, Ontario: “The prevailing circumstances just before the survey result was released point to Malacañang having no other alternative but to come out with this kind of propaganda. It is their own commissioned survey so the real score is anybody’s guess.”

Jewellyn Dizon, 21: “Erap says he doesn’t care if he is popular or not. But then he gets a -13 rating and embarks on a tour of the country just like he did when he was campaigning. Isn’t this tantamount to reclaiming lost support from the grassroots? Then, a new survey says his rating is actually 5 percent. Malacañang is so happy thinking the -13 percent is forgotten. If Erap doesn’t give a damn about his popularity, why all the fuss, attention and reaction? Erap says one thing and does another, no wonder no one believes him.”

Germar Perlas, Caloocan: “A person cannot change overnight his attitudes, lifestyle, habits, vices, beliefs, etc., even if there is new willingness. Suppose there is no willingness to change?”

Ophelia M. Bakker: “Filipinos should read and think hard for a change! For a long while now, there has been a wide ringing chorus at how disastrous this guy has been performing. What a waste and what a great pity for a people and nation known to be the most educated in the region. How immature and childish to watch and tolerate this clown “do his own thing!” to borrow the words of one of his advisers. Any way you look at Estrada including his personal and official family, from beginning to end, is an embarrassment not just to us Filipinos but for our country as well!”

Arsenio A. Abellana, Lapu-lapu City: “Let’s pray for this comedy (of Erap as president) to pass. As the Good Book says, ‘A rotten tree cannot bear good fruit.’ Let’s pray also that somehow he changes to be a good tree and for us Filipinos to change our ways.”

  1. Henry Adapon:“If there was a ‘Type B’ survey report, that would be more appropriate, and I think you realize that ‘B’ does not stand for Bear Manure!”

Ms. Gold, 30up, Cagayan de Oro: “Who are they kidding? The trouble with liars is that they tend to believe that what they say is true, even if they know deep in their hearts that it isn’t. Kawawa naman sila — ngunit ang mas lalong kawawa, tayo!”

Noel & Gene Aquino: “The President’s recent 5-percent rating is not consistent with other on-the-spot telephone/televised surveys. It has been reported that the questions were so framed and survey sites chosen as to favor Erap, as dictated by the party who commissioned the survey. The earlier releases of negative ratings were not met by a rebuttal, but instead implicitly accepted by the President when he said that ‘now I know who my friends really are.”

Naty Deang, Camella Homes, Muntinlupa: “These people think that we are in the land of make-believe. With the actor president that we have, they think they can revise the script, edit the portion they thought should only be behind the camera, then reverse the result of a survey to make people believe that the President is still being supported by the people. A few days ago, SWS disowned the survey that showed a -32 rating, while Secretary Diokno admitted that he used taxpayers’ money in commissioning SWS. Who’s telling the truth? Then a Palace spokesman commented after the -32 rating, that we have to see the next survey, so what did he mean?”

Seahaven padua: “There is an overwhelming outrage against the presidency and its cohorts for all the troubles and worsening situation. Reversing this situation is hard to do now, but still possible — only if our leader show really the will and effort to change. This doesn’t mean that we are a hopeless country. With unity among ourselves and showing concern and respect for everyone, there is still room for improvement.”

Vivien Abesamis, an NGO worker: “The President speaks of family planning, but keeps on planting children outside of his legal family. He admonishes wives to restrain themselves at bedtime, but continues to get into relationships with women who bear his children. No wonder, some members of his legal and midnight Cabinets are following his bad example.

Laarni using philonline address: “Of course the +5 survey rating is ‘Type O.’ Like financial statements, we call it in the accounting profession a window dressed report.

Emer D. Cato, Woodside, NY: “Walang duda, ito ay Type O! Kitang kita naman ang dahilan, di ba? Kung talagang pag-iisipan ng mga alagad ng ating Pangulong Estrada, walang maniniwala sa kanila. Kawawa naman ang ating Pangulo. Maganda ang kanyang layunin subalit ang kanyang mga kamag-anak at kaibigan ang siyang mga dahilan ng kanyang pagbagsak. Ipinagdarasal ko na sana magbago na sila at tulungan nila ang ating Pangulo para sa ikauunlad ng mga Pilipino.”

Gonzalo Tiotuyco, Quezon City: “The report showing a 5-percent rating is geared to paint a rosy picture after the consecutive negative 13 percent and negative 32 percent ratings that Malacañang sought to keep from the public. He has not done anything to turn these negative ratings around. In fact, disenchantment and protests against him continue to mount in all sectors despite his claim that only the upper classes (those with phones, Internet access, etc., to join polls) are out to get him. His efforts to polarize society is an old but dangerous ploy.”

Marcial Lumayag, Perth, Western Australia: “His 5-percent rating climb is suspect. Erap has not shown anything (or perhaps little in asking again for more time) in terms of fulfilling his promises during the time when the latest survey was conducted.

Noriel Javier, Okinawa, Japan: “I don’t think anyone in his right mind believes Erap has changed his ways and deserves a higher rating than six months ago’s.”

Jess H. Reyes using pacbell address: “The Filipino people outsmarted themselves this time. While they were critical of trapos, they picked instead someone who is much less than they thought he was. I hope that they learn a lesson from this. Popularity is really not a realistic factor for governance skill.”

Alfredo Sumague, QA analyst/programmer, Silicon Valley, California: “The 5-percent approval came from the President’s wives and mistresses, his party members, Cabinet members, movie stars, his cronies, their wives, friends and employees, Marcos loyalists… Please tell Executive Secretary Zamora and the SWS guys, as in tagalog, magkukuwento lang sila, tinipid pa nila (add more).”

Primitivo R. Estepa, system analyst: “Note that when Erap’s popularity went down to minus 13, his Cabinet people were telling the public to wait for the next survey. It seems that they already knew what to show to the people. Erap people are also good in ‘disinformation.’ The problem with Erap is he thinks his role as a President is like in the movies that the hero always has a happy ending.”

Alfredo B. Fuentabella, banker, Makati: “We must respect our President for the man that he is. The important thing is that he must learn to listen to the people, and that he must react diplomatically but quickly and correspondingly… with due care and caution always. Erap is street smart, and knows more than that… and it seems that some external force or people are ‘blackmailing’ (for lack of a better term) him into submission. Thus, the chaos now obtaining. We must all pray (in our own churches) that Mr. Estrada succeeds.”

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