The Manila Times : For UniTeam to sweep Senate, it needs straight-ticket voting plus coalition teamwork

By Yen Makabenta | The Manila Times

First word

HOUSE deputy speaker Rodante Marcoleta probably acted too soon in withdrawing from the Senate race after seeing his numbers in dubious survey ratings. Had he stayed on until the last day of the campaign, he stood to benefit from a tantalizing quirk in election mathematics.

I believe there could be a surefire way for the BBM-Sara UniTeam to achieve a sweep of the Senate and House elections. No, it does not involve any cheating or deception or vote-buying. It requires only good old-fashioned mathematics and common sense.

Pulse Asia findings and projections

Start from the findings and projections of Pulse Asia in its latest and last pre-election survey (April 16-21), released on May 2.

Based on this final survey, the voting on Monday will likely have the following shape:

  1. There are a total of 65 million registered voters in the country. Based on historical trends, about 90 to 95 percent of voters will turn out to vote on Election Day. Variations will occur chiefly in the overseas voting, much of which has already taken place.
  2. In terms of voter preferences, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is the choice of 56 percent of the survey respondents. Maria Leonor Robredo is a distant second with 23 percent.

In turn, Sara Duterte-Carpio was named also as the choice of 56 percent of survey respondents.

In explaining the survey findings, Pulse Asia research director, Dr. Ana Maria Tabunda, made some striking observations.

The majority of the registered voters have already decided at this time and no amount of convincing could make them change their minds about their preferred bets, she said.

Tabunda also believes that the result of the last survey could also be the result on election day.

The poll conducted from April 16 to 21 showed no movement in the figures compared to the March survey. The survey covered 2,400 respondents nationwide.

Tabunda said the 56 percent voter preference for Marcos, is equivalent to about 36.5 million of the total 65 million registered voters in the country.

She said Marcos' consistently high numbers are historic since it was the first time since they started conducting pre-election surveys that a candidate for president has been able to maintain his 50-plus percentage voter preference for the duration of the race.

"Marcos was leading by 33 percent margin points and if it is converted into votes, it could be around 19.5 million," Tabunda said.

Rationale for straight-ticket voting

Given these formidable figures, it would seem that first, Marcos voters or supporters are a highly committed lot. They are not likely to change their minds.

Second, it follows from this that if the idea is presented to them properly, Marcos-Duterte supporters can be persuaded by BBM and Sara to adopt straight ticket voting in the Senate race.

Voting for candidates of only one party is called straight-ticket voting. In contrast, voting for candidates of different political parties on the same ballot is called split-ticket voting.

The rationale for straight-ticket voting in this 2022 election is simply stated. The incoming administration of the most likely president-elect and vice president-elect — Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte — will have great need of supportive majorities in the Senate and the House of the coming 19th Congress. They will need this in order to legislate and execute their ambitious policy agenda. An obstructionist Senate will be especially disruptive.

I believe that the objective of achieving a Senate majority will be served by several actions in the final days of the campaign.

Both Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte should make a joint appeal to their supporters to vote straight ticket in the Senate race as well as in the House races in the legislative districts.

According to Pulse Asia, Marcos Jr. and Duterte individually enjoy the support of 56 percent of voters. They constitute in Pulse Asia's estimate a total of 35 to 36 million voters.

If even just half of these supporters are persuaded to vote straight for the UniTeam Senate ticket, that would mean almost 19 million votes each for UniTeam's senatorial candidates. And that, combined with their personal voting bases, will be more than enough to get most or all of them over the hump and on the threshold of victory.

2019 Senate election

Study next the results of the 2019 midterm elections.

In the senatorial tabulation of the 2019 midterm election, it took the 12th placer, Sen. Nancy Binay, 14.4 million votes to earn her place in the magic 12. The other winners had vote totals ranging from15 to 20 million, even 25 million in the case of the topnotcher, Sen. Cynthia Villar.

In this year's Senate election, it is widely projected that the threshold for election to the Senate will most probably lie in between 17 to 20 million votes.

Straight-ticket voting by committed Marcos-Duterte voters will likely make all the difference for UniTeam in winning the majority of seats in the Senate. Straight-ticket voting will be a boon for many senatorial candidates who are now struggling to reach the threshold for victory in the Senate race.

It's a pity that I could not make this suggestion much earlier when the UniTeam could have made straight-ticket voting a strategic goal. But we needed Pulse Asia's projection of Marcos-Duterte votes in order to see the light.

Today, the arithmetic for victory is clear and persuasive. What is needed is an explicit push for a UniTeam Senate sweep and congressional majority.

It is not too late for BBM and Sara to sound the call to their supporters to adopt straight-ticket voting in the Senate race and the entire congressional election.

The word can be instantly sent out to all campaign leaders, campaign workers, volunteers and candidates to place a high priority now on straight-ticket voting as an urgent need of UniTeam.

Importance of teamwork

It is also important to stress the urgency of teamwork among all the candidates and members of UniTeam as a sine qua non (without which not) for victory in the election.

UniTeam is essentially a coalition of disparate political parties, groups and candidates who have united under the leadership and candidacy of Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte, who still must be molded into a cohesive whole. They need to be oriented to the consecration of national energies to national unity and national strengthening. And they must be harnessed for the pervasive transformation of national life under the new administration.

BBM's message of unity, translated as "sama, sama," hits the mark in UniTeam's campaign. Members of the entire movement — from the candidates to the campaign workers to the supporters among the people — will strive to work together, and win together.

There can be no real victory for a candidate working alone and only for himself or herself. It is through union or alliance with others that victory is achieved in politics.

Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte have gotten to 'we' as their mindset and constant guide in the campaign. This way, they have fostered among their followers and fellow candidates confidence in one another. As they have traveled the length and breadth of the archipelago to talk and listen to the people, they have seeded in the country a culture of teamwork.

This is why Uniteam's victory on Monday could mean so much.