Data experts: Scientific surveys real barometer of people’s sentiments, not rallies and social media engagements

25 March 2022

THE chief data scientist of Publicus Asia Inc. has shattered the illusions of some political camps who were resorting to fetching and paying people just to attend their rallies and make it appear that huge crowds were actually supporting them.

Dr. David Yap Jr., chief data scientist of Publicus Asia Inc. explained that huge attendance during rallies is not in any way an indication that certain candidates have support from the voters, but that the real barometer of people’s sentiments is based on the results of scientific surveys and not the number of attendees in a candidate’s political rally or social media engagements.

Yap issued the statement shortly after the release of results of March 9-14 survey of Publicus Asia when presidential frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos posted 55.1 percent voter preference, an increase of nearly three percent over his 52.3 percent preference share last February.

At a very distant second is Leni Robredo with 21 percent, followed by Isko Domagoso with 8.2 percent, Ping Lacson with 4.2 percent and Manny Pacquiao with 1.8 percent.

Yap stressed that the results of the survey could not be seen in the major political rallies of candidates as most of them were able to generate huge crowds in their campaign sorties mainly because of celebrities and music performers who join them in their rallies.

In their campaign rallies in Metro Manila, Marcos filled several streets in Mandaluyong City and the Riverbanks in Marikina while Robredo’s camp also recently filled the Emerald Avenue in Pasig City.

Data analysts like Pulse Asia executive director Anna Maria Tabunda  and Yap have already previously explained in interviews  that the number of rally attendees is only part of the actual preference rating numbers of candidates.

In the case of Marcos, the hundreds of thousands who attended in his recent rallies in Marikina and in Mandaluyong were actually part of his 55-60 percent voter preference rating, while the alleged 80,000 attendees of Robredo’s recent rally in Pasig was also just a representation of her 15-20 percent preference rating.

“When you look at rallies whatever the color, it is mostly populated. The vast majority of people who attend rallies are already supporters of that particular candidate,” Yap said.

 “And if you consider this very important point, you realize that this isn’t for conversion primarily. It is to reinforce the base that we have a lot of people,” he added.

The crowd also does not quantify the real sentiments of the people, Yap stressed.

“If you consider the population of non-child Filipino. Let’s put it at 80 million. Twenty percent of 80 million is still 16 million. That is more than enough to fill up a whole lot of rallies in Metro Manila and outside,” the data scientist averred.

Yap also claimed that Google searches and other social media engagements is also not the barometer of the sentiments of the voting populations where Robredo allegedly leads over Marcos.

Even Google itself clarified that their trends are not poll survey and do not reflect voting intentions.

“Alluding to Google trend searches and social media engagements as barometers for voter preference is lazy thinking,” Yap pointed out.

“A person can be interested in a candidate, but not in particularly in a positive way. A person can be searching for information that is against for a particular candidate. We do not have any way to distinguish between a person searching for an information of candidates in hopes of supporting him or her,” he explained.

He noted that Mocha Uson and Doc Willie Ong, who were two of the most popular social media influencers, did not make it in the 2019 mid-term elections despite their millions of followers in Facebook.

He insisted that survey is still the most accurate and scientific in terms of knowing the sentiments of the voting public.

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FILIPINO VERSION

SCIENTIFIC SURVEY TOTOONG BATAYAN NG SENTIMYENTO NG BOTANTE, HINDI RALLY AT SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT—DATA EXPERTS

WINASAK ng chief data scientist ng Publicus Asia Inc. ang paniwala ng ilang kampo na ang paghahakot at pagbabayad ng mga tao para dumalo sa kanilang campaign rally at magmukhang marami silang taga-suporta ay makakatulong sa kanilang kampanya.

Ipinaliwanag ni Dr. David Yap Jr., chief data scientist ng Publicus Asia Inc. na ang malaking bilang ng tao na dumadalo sa mga rally ay hindi nangangahulugan na malaki na rin ang kanilang makukuhang boto.

Giit niya ang totoong barometro ng sentimyento ng mga tao ay nakabase sa mga resulta ng scientific survey at hindi sa rally maging sa mga social media engagement.

Naglabas si Yap ng pahayag matapos nitong ilabas ang resulta ng survey ng Publicus Asia  mula Marso 9-14 kung saan si presidential frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos ang nanguna na mayroong 55.1 porsyentong voter preference, na tumaas ng halos tatlong porsyento mula sa kanyang 52.3 % preference share nitong Pebrero.

Nasa malayong pangalawang pwesto si Leni Robredo na mayroong 21%, sinundan ni Isko Domagoso na mayroong 8.2 %, Ping Lacson, 4.2 % at Manny Pacquiao, 1.8 %.

Iginiit pa ni Yap na ang resulta ng survey ay hindi rin makikita sa mga malalaking political rally ng mga kandidato dahil karamihan sa kanila ay nakakahakot ng maraming crowd dahil na rin sa mga imbitadong artista at performers.

Sa kanilang kampanya sa Metro Manila, napuno ni Marcos ang ilang kalsada sa Mandaluyong at kamakailan ay sa Riverbanks sa Marikina habang ang kampo naman ni Robredo ay napuno rin ang Emerald Avenue sa Pasig City.

Kamakailan ay sinabi rin ng mga data analysts tulad ni Yap at Pulse Asia executive director Anna Maria Tabunda na ang bilang ng mga taong dumalo sa rally ay bahagi lamang ng actual preference rating numbers ng mga kandidato.

Sa kaso ni Marcos, ang daang libo na dumadalo sa kanyang mga rally ay bahagi lamang ng kanyang 55-60 %  na voter preference sa mga survey, habang ang bilang naman ng dumalo kay Robredo ay bahagi ng 15-20% voter preference nito.

“When you look at rallies whatever the color, it is mostly populated. The vast majority of people who attend rallies are already supporters of that particular candidate,” sabi ni Yap.

 “And if you consider this very important point, you realize that this isn’t for conversion primarily. It is to reinforce the base that we have a lot of people,” dagdag pa niya.

Hindi rin umano pwedeng pagbasehan ang dami ng tao para malaman ang sentimyento ng mga botante, ani Yap.

“If you consider the population of non-child Filipino. Let’s put it at 80 million. Twenty percent of 80 million is still 16 million. That is more than enough to fill up a whole lot of rallies in Metro Manila and outside,” sabi rin niya.

Idinagdag pa ni Yap na ang mga Google search at iba pang social media engagement ay hindi rin pwedeng gawing barometro para sukatin ang kanilang iboboto kung saan nanguna si Robredo kay Marcos.

Kamakailan ay nilinaw din mismo ng Google na ang kanilang “trends” ay hindi poll survey at hindi sinasabing batayan para sa iboboto ng publiko.

“Alluding to Google trend searches and social media engagements as barometers for voter preference is lazy thinking,” sinabi ni Yap

“A person can be interested in a candidate, but not in particularly in a positive way. A person can be searching for information that is against for a particular candidate. We do not have any way to distinguish between a person searching for an information of candidates in hopes of supporting him or her,” diin niya.

Ibinigay pa nitong halimbawa si Mocha Uson at Doc Willie Ong, na kapwa pinaka-popular na social media influencer pero kapwa natalo nitong 2019 mid-term elections sa kabila ng milyun-milyong followers sa Facebook.

Iginiit ni Yap na ang survey pa rin ang pinaka-credible at pinagkakatiwalaan para malaman ang totoong damdamin ng voting public.

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