MANILA, Philippines – You want to prevent another Marcos presidency? Help Isko Moreno. This was one of the conclusions made by the camp of the Manila Mayor after looking at data gathered by market research firm Tangere and Pulse Asia’s just-released March survey.
Moreno’s campaign manager Lito Banayo and Ernest Ramel, president of Aksyon Demokratiko, held a press conference on Friday, April 8, to present findings of an April 6 mobile phone survey conducted by Tangere which showed Moreno and Vice President Leni Robredo were in a close fight for second place, after Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
They pointed to this poll to dispute the Pulse Asia survey conducted a month ago showing a much wider gap between Robredo and Moreno (24% and 8%, respectively).
The Tangere poll, done two days ago and involving 1,200 respondents, was done through its mobile survey app – in contrast to the face-to-face method of Pulse Asia. Respondents were those from Tangere’s more than 600,000 active user base – people with mobile phones who use their app to answer surveys in exchange for points which can then be used to win raffle prizes conducted by Tangere.
Though the Moreno camp presented the survey results, Rappler verified the slides shown with Tangere CEO Martin Peñaflor. He said the slides came from Tangere and were given to Moreno’s team.
Banayo said the poll was conducted independently of the Moreno campaign team. Tangere has also partnered with Manila Bulletin for a series of election surveys.
The latest Tangere electoral poll still showed Marcos leading with 48%, but followed by Moreno with 24%, and then Robredo with 20%. This, said Banayo, shows the elections is still a “three-way race,” not a two-way race as the Pulse Asia poll reflected.
The poll was conducted on the same day the Pulse Asia survey was released. Asked if it was deliberately timed that way, Banayo said no. Tangere had conducted the poll on that day to check on sentiments of people after the Comelec debate held last Sunday, April 3.
Below are the Tangere survey slides:
Moreno, the least disliked candidate?
While it’s quite different from results of Pulse Asia’s March poll, the two data sets share one finding: that Moreno is the top second choice and that he is the least objectionable presidential bet for many.
Among Marcos voters, for example, 45.59% said Moreno would be their next pick. He is also the top second choice of Robredo supporters – 51.55% of them, according to Tangere.
As for Pacquiao and Lacson voters, 41.77% and 40.98%, respectively said Marcos is the second choice.
Meanwhile, Pulse Asia’s latest poll showed Moreno was the top second choice of voters, garnering 23%, with Lacson after him at 13%.
Asked if this means they think Moreno would have better chances of beating Marcos in a two-way race than Robredo, Banayo said, “Yes, he is the second choice preference of all other candidates.”
“If Leni is the one going to withdraw, 51% of her supporters are going to Mayor Isko. If it’s Mayor Isko who withdraws, only 17% will go to Leni. In fact, it will strengthen more the Marcos candidacy as gleaned from this survey,” said Ramel.
To bolster their analysis, they pointed to another data set from Tangere on “voter non-preference.” It showed that Moreno is the least disliked candidate while Robredo is the most disliked.
The question asked of respondents was: “Kung ngayon gaganapin ang eleksyon, sino sa mga sumusunod ang hindi mo iboboto bilang pangulo?” (If the election was held now, who among the following would you not vote for president?)
According to Tangere, 45%, the biggest number, said they would not vote Robredo. Meanwhile, 2% said Moreno, 13% said Marcos, 11% said Pacquiao, 3% said Lacson.
Dindo Manhit, president of Stratbase ADR Institute, a think tank that has been commissioning monthly electoral surveys since October 2021, reacted to the Moreno camp’s analysis.
“They over-analyze surveys. At the end of the day, there’s some truth to what they’re saying. But the sad part is Isko Moreno remains a second choice of voters of Marcos but VP Leni was able to create a niche already for herself,” he told Rappler on Friday.
Mobile surveys vs. face-to-face
Rappler asked Pulse Asia research director Ana Tabunda what she thought of mobile surveys. She said they are “not likely to produce representative samples” and that it is difficult to accurately determine a respondent’s socioeconomic class through a phone.
The proportion of socioeconomic classes in a sample is important to ensure the sample is reflective of the Philippine population, where Class D is the dominant class and Class AB, or the upper and middle class, are the minority.
Tangere CEO Martin Peñaflor, however, says they do detailed profiling of their respondents. Before the pandemic, they would visit their residences but since the health crisis, they do their “detailed screening” through Zoom, he told Rappler on Friday. (See the previous image for the breakdown of their 1,200 respondents, according to class.)
The questionnaire they use to determine the socioeconomic class of a respondent is “nine pages long.” They ask things like how much the respondent pays for electricity, the furniture and appliances they own.
Accuracy is needed, he said, because they mostly do surveys for business-to-consumer companies whose market range from Class A to E. Many of the companies listed in their website as clients are well-known brands like Pampanga’s Best, Nutriasia, and Filinvest Land.
In Tangere’s explanation of methodology and work program sent to Rappler, the firm admitted its surveys are limited in the sense that their respondents need access to a mobile phone and internet to participate.
“At the moment, while they may not necessarily be a 100% accurate representation of the actual Philippine population’s sentiments or insights, the Tangere Survey Runs can nevertheless show a snapshot of the general consciousness of the online Filipinos,” reads the document.
Banayo, a political strategist of several elections already, raised the possibility of face-to-face interviews being skewed by those conducting the interviews – persons hired by polling firms to go on the field. He, however, emphasized he is not claiming face-to-face surveys are less accurate than mobile surveys.
“The problem here is if, not necessarily the company but the field researchers used have been influenced by a particular candidate with plenty of money. I’m not making an accusation right now, I’m just talking of possibilities,” he said in the press conference.
He then claimed that a subcontractor tapped to conduct face-to-face survey in Leyte hired city hall employees to conduct the survey. He did not say which city government.
For Moreno’s camp, mobile phone surveys mean respondents can answer without the element of an interviewer asking them questions. They can answer privately, mirroring the experience of filling up a voting ballot by ones’ self.
Tabunda of Pulse Asia defended their face-to-face methodology against Banayo’s allegation.
“Our field interviewers are trained to ask questions in a neutral way so that they do not influence respondents,” she told Rappler. – Rappler.com