In a TV interview, the late President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s spokesman was obviously whistling past the graveyard when he insisted that “gravity” would be pulling down presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s high, over-50 percent ratings as voters’ choice in various opinion surveys.
That reminded me of a favorite analogy of a witty political and business analyst in the 1990s. He referred to the taipans who have amassed so much resources that they will practically never go bankrupt since they have achieved “escape velocity” and are “in orbit”, beyond gravity’s pull.
Going by surveys by different pollsters — even one commissioned by Leni Robredo’s supporter Albert del Rosario — and a most recent one by the Marcos Media Bureau’s Swiss consultant who polled 3,600 respondents, Marcos seems to now be beyond gravity. Robredo, going by the numbers, as well as other aspirants have been dismal “failures to launch.”
Note that its respondents numbered 3,600 compared to the 1,200 usually polled by most polling firms, which means a very small margin of error of plus or minus 1 percent.
In the Swiss consultant’s poll, Marcos is the choice of 62 percent of respondents, up from the 51 percent preference reported by the most recent Social Weather Station poll. Robredo’s has gone down from the 20 percent in the first week of December to 15 percent in the most recent poll (Table 1).
TABLE 1. PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS’ VOTING PREFERENCE
What is informative in the Marcos camp’s poll is that it also asked respondents their perceptions of the candidates, which turns out to confirm the voting preferences, as shown in Table 2.
TABLE 2. RESPONDENTS’ PERCEPTION OF CANDIDATES
One of the poll’s metrics that measures whether respondents may still change their preferences on May 22 confirms my thesis of Marcos having achieved “escape velocity.”
Some 46 percent of the respondents choosing Marcos say they won’t change their mind, compared to only 9 percent for Robredo. That means that in a worst-case scenario for Marcos, he will still get 46 percent votes. In Robredo’s case, a mere 1 percent.
It is only in the Bicol/Mimaropa and Western Visayas regions that the percentages of those choosing Robredo and who say they won’t change their minds are more than 10 percent, 38 percent for the former and 19 percent for the latter.
The poll commissioned by the Marcos camp also reported that 77 percent of its respondents “favored” President Duterte, which however was a dip from his 84 percent “favorability” in its previous April 2021 poll. (This 77 percent rating though is higher than PUBLiCUS Asia’s “approval” rating in its December 6 to 10 poll and Pulse Asia’s 72 percent in December 1 to 6 survey.
The Marcos camp’s poll shows that whether a deliberate strategy or not, Duterte’s non-endorsement of Marcos’ candidacy may have even helped Bongbong. According to the poll, 47 percent want the country “to take the direction Duterte has been leading to,” while 49 percent “want the country to go into a new direction.”
Marcos’ attractiveness as president therefore is not affected by those who dislike Duterte as the President hasn’t endorsed him. But the fact that his daughter Sara is his running mate sends the message that he is covertly doing so.
What I myself found surprising in this survey is that the late President Marcos had a high “favorability” rating of 72 percent, higher than former president Estrada’s 46 percent and the President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s 41 percent.
Marcos Sr.’s favorability rating has in fact been rising, from 45 percent in 2009 to 55 percent in February 2016 to the latest 72 percent, just a few percentage points from Duterte’s 77 percent. I was wrong in my thinking then that his father’s demonization by the Reds and Yellows would be Bongbong’s insurmountable obstacle in the elections.
TABLE 3: Favorability: Former President Ferdinand Marcos (Tracking)
Or did Bongbong’s running for president stimulate the revival of interest in his father’s real record, his behavior serving to disprove in people’s minds his father’s demonization?
This is amazing: despite the power of the Yellows and Reds’ propaganda machine that has portrayed Marcos Sr. for three decades and a half as a “plunderer and ruthless dictator,” the majority of Filipinos don’t believe this, and favor him and his rule.
This points to the Yellows and Pinks’ colossal error in the current election campaign. Their propaganda has focused on demonizing Marcos Sr., while most Filipinos don’t think of him as being so. This most likely backfired, as Filipinos would have disfavored the camp that has been disseminating what they think are lies, and favored Bongbong whom they see as unjustly persecuted.
If most Filipinos don’t see Marcos Sr. as bad and his era as horrific, shouldn’t the intellectual sector humble themselves and undertake a more objective, unbiased study of the martial law period to find out the truth, rather than uncritically believe the claims the Yellows and the Reds have been disseminating?
Solid North, Solid South: Stronger than 2016
DATA from the low key but highly reliable pollster Laylo Associates indicate that the Marcoses’ so-called Solid North (the Ilokano-speaking provinces) and the relatively new “Solid South” (the Dutertes’ Northern Mindanao and Davao provinces) are even more solid in delivering votes than in 2016.
According to the Laylo poll (undertaken end-November and with 3,000 respondents), 92 to 97 percent of the Ilocos, Cordillera and Cagayan Valley will be voting for Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. This is markedly bigger than the 65 percent to 75 percent of votes in these provinces that Marcos got in the 2016 vice presidential elections.
These North and South regions will most likely deliver an avalanche of votes for both Marcos and his running mate, Sara Duterte-Carpio, to make the opposition candidate Leni Robredo the worst-performing candidate in our Republic’s history. At least according to the Laylo November poll, she would be getting only 12 percent of votes; even worse than Jose de Venecia’s 16 percent in 1998, the record holder as the biggest loser so far.
It would be the last nail on the coffin of this Yellow Plague that has afflicted us since 1986.
It could be even worse than 12 percent. With all polls confirming Bongbong to have a wide lead over Robredo, campaign financiers would be crazy to throw money at a loser. The funds trickling into Robredo’s coffers would even be reduced as her fundraisers skim off the contributions, as they see their candidate losing anyway, and they wouldn’t care if she finds out.
Maybe Robredo herself would likely, realistically, stash away some of the contributions to ensure herself a comfortable retirement. Not too many potential contributors, I bet, will be returning Robredo’s calls.
Already, Robredo’s noisiest cheerleader Albert del Rosario, sources said, has vanished after he was given the results of the Social Weather Stations October poll which showed Marcos getting 47 percent of votes as against Robredo’s 18 percent.
That nutty group who first endorsed Robredo as its candidate, 1Sambayan, can’t even meet as no one is willing to pick up the bill for the lunch. Sources claimed that Robredo frowned her frown when she was told that Maria Ressa declined her plea to contribute to her campaign funds from her P25-million Nobel cash prize.
What is surprising about Laylo’s poll is that even the National Capital Region — traditionally very much pro-opposition and where the Pink-dominated media has its dominion — will go for Marcos, with 61 percent of i-voters backing him. Only 12 percent in that region chose Robredo.
She can count only on one single region — her home region Bicol, with 70 percent going for her. Even Western Visayas, the Liberal Party’s traditional turf, gives Marcos 36 percent of its vote, bigger than Robredo’s 27 percent.
If Marcos’ trajectory continues, he will be the second president elected by a majority of votes in our post-EDSA history. I would think that would be good to unite this country that the Yellows have divided.