Expert questions misleading survey showing likely Marcos win

By Beting Laygo Dolor, Editor

MANILA – Suspicions that Pulse Asia’s surveys that indicate a likely victory for Ferdinand Marcos Jr next week were based on false readings resurfaced last week.

Numerous flaws were pointed out in the Pulse Asia surveys, which meant that the results were not a clear reflection of the preferences of the electorate.

Specifically, the youth were underrepresented in the surveys, while middle aged voters represented a higher percentage than their actual voting strength.

It should be noted that the Robredo campaign has been fueled by mostly young voters volunteering and attending the vice president’s rallies.

The Marcos Jr. camp, meanwhile, counts older voters as the backbone of their supporters.

Romulo Virola, retired secretary-general of the National Statistical Coordination Board, pointed out what he said were flaws in Pulse Asia’s recent surveys, including underrepresentation of the youth; overrepresentation of those who did not have a college education; and disproportionate representation of socio-economic classes.

Virola said Robredo could win “if the Pulse Asia survey flaws were rectified.”

Pulse Asia had previously been questioned for farming out the job of conducting accurate surveys to outsiders, who may or may not have experience in the precise science that is statistics.

It had also been noted that Pulse Asia surveys excluded the A and B segments, who represent a small fraction of the population but who cast their votes in higher percentages. The polling firm also excluded college graduates or those who made it to college but did not graduate.

Virola said the youth vote could “spring a surprise” in next week’s elections, resulting in a win for Robredo.

Ronald Holmes, president of Pulse Asia, noted the criticism of their methodology, but said he stood by their results.

He said their results were still “representative of the whole country.”

He downplayed the massive rallies of Robredo, who has been able to bring in progressively larger and larger crowds in the run up to the election.

The camp of Marcos Jr. has struggled to bring in attendees to their rallies, and has cancelled several campaign events reportedly due to the small numbers who bothered to attend.

Holmes said the huge crowds only represented a fraction of the electorate.

Unlike previous elections, the country’s other polling firm, the Social Weather Stations, did not conduct pre-election surveys.

Oddly enough, the figures of Pulse Asia are almost a mirror image of Google Trends, but in reverse.

While Pulse Asia’s latest survey said Marcos Jr would clinch 56 percent of the vote and Robredo 23 percent, Google Trends had Robredo with 55 percent and Marcos Jr 24 percent.

And while Google Trends does not present itself as a survey firm, it did predict a dominant win by Robredo over Marcos Jr.

Last month, Google Trends accurately predicted the win of French President Emmanuel Macron over his opponent Marine Le Pen within a margin of error of less than two percent.

Google Trends also predicted a win by Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential elections and Joe Biden over Trump in the 2020 polls.