Ed Malay’s The Center recently came out with a survey pointing out that Noynoy Aquino, while still being the lead candidate in their own surveys, was showing signs of slipping while other candidates were gaining ground. The Center’s survey has been criticized but the criticisms focused on The Center being a PR firm. The survey results themselves were not subjected to scrutineering that would reveal flaws in their methods or analysis.
As I have said before, I do not put a lot of weight on surveys and pitting one survey against another is pointless. What will really matter in the days to come are not he surveys, but the actual campaigning that will happen.
As far as campaigns through media is concerned, it will be a battle of messages as well as a battle of who has the most number of ads. Then there is the ground campaign where the candidate will attempt to meet and greet crucial publics in provinces all over the country. Then there is the election day operations where candidates try to ensure that their voters will actually go to the precincts and cast their votes.
Surveys don’t win elections, solid campaigns do.
Anyway, here is Ed Malay’s article.
Breach in sampling eyed
by Ed Malay
SEPT. 22, 2009
Breach in poll sampling protocol in survey favoring Noynoy Aquino
Political Science Prof. Alfred S. Sureta Jr., executive director of the newly-organized Strat Polls, has joined Ed M. Malay of The Center claiming there could have been a breach in the sampling protocol as the key sampling method of stratification apparently was not observed in the recent survey which was allegedly conducted by the Social Weather Station showing Sen. Noynoy Aquino ahead of the field of presidentiables with a rating of 50%.
Sureta also stressed that he is not questioning the integrity of the SWS that conducted the survey but he maintained that the survey could have suffered from high favorable bias for Senator Aquino as the areas surveyed are mostly in Region III.
He also said that from what he knows the SWS does not use a field force of its own but sub-contracts the field operation to another party and if there has been any breach in the methodological approach to the field operations, the possible lapse(s) could be traced back down to that level.
Sureta pointed out that it is statistically improbable for Sen. Manny Villar to have lost 15% to 20% “overnight” or from the short period of time when Senator Aquino first made known his intention to seek the presidency. It will be recalled that Aquino announced he will running for President on Sept. 8 while the alleged SWS survey was conducted from Sept. 5 to 6 or two to three days before Aquino made public his intention.
In explaining what he meant by breach in the sampling protocol, Sureta said that it is the general rule in poll surveys to adopt the multi-stage area probability sampling or MSAPS to generate a fair and more accurate result and that such surveys must not be concentrated in just one area of territory.
Malay yesterday also questioned the results of the SWS survey as unbelievably high and that there were traces that certain groups who are supporting and or working for Noynoy Aquino either officially or as back-room support have started to create mindsets by establishing a trend this early in the political ball game.
Malay who heads The Issues and Advocacy Center yesterday expressed doubts on the accuracy of surveys showing Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III leading by a huge margin among the 2010 presidential aspirants. When interviewed by the Media, Malay said it was “impossible” to interview 1,200 respondents in just two days.
“We at the Center always allot from five to seven days for field data extraction, two to four days for tabulation and another two to five days for analysis, call-back and cross-evaluation, which is a system that we developed and which other survey organizations do not have,” Malay said. “This allows us to generate an accurate picture of the political topography in the country,” he said.
Malay, who is identified with former President Fidel Ramos, has been undertaking political polls since the 1992 presidential campaign but on an exclusive basis for the then presidentiable Fidel V. Ramos. The Center’s latest survey was in August that showed Sen. Manuel Villar, former President Joseph Estrada, and Sen. Francis Escudero topping the polls. The same survey included Aquino but among possible vice presidential candidates, obtaining 29 percent of 1,200 respondents.
He, however, stressed that it is “unethical” to dispute the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, “even if the results are somewhat hard to believe,” because it is “an established organization” but said the results of polls surveys “must be ranged against the realities on the ground,” as the Center does in its polls.
Malay said the presidential campaign has taken off rather early and on a “very sour note” even before the filing of the certificates of candidacies and we’ll be seeing more of these special media operations in the days to come.”
He said he understands that Aquino, “being the last to board the presidential campaign train” his strategists will naturally do everything to turn him into a viable and winnable candidate and this is just one of those strategies that has become part of the arsenal of political campaign strategies and this is not even an original as we first adopted this in 1992. But in this case, the Noynoy camp has pulled the rug on other presidentiables who were caught napping,” said Malay.
He said Aquino has “now succeeded in grabbing the advantage from the other candidates and expect his popularity to rise further in the days to come as he enjoys the support of a big broadcasting network and a national broadsheet.” This only proves that media giants can dictate where the fortunes of this country will go. Whether this is good for the country or not is for the people to decide. It’s their future on the line, Malay said. # #