| Home| Personal BLog| Compositions| Health Avenue| Places| UnEditedMe| Philippines| Monk|

Friday, April 30, 2010

Philippine May 2010 Elections Voters Activities and My Big SWS Survey Article Dissatisfaction

sws philippines disappointing survey article presentationToday, I stumbled over a blog with an article about the results of February 2010 pre-election survey for the Philippine presidentiables (2010 candidate for Philippine president). It was mentioned that the basic information was from the results of the survey conducted by the social weather station (sws) in the Philippines. Since I cannot vote as I live here in Europe (though I could have registered but I was not aware then), I am indifferent to the results of that survey. I have to see the program of each candidate todecide which one to vote. However, I have to admit that I became curious of sws so I went entering the website. There were a lot to learn there, especially that this sws is an authority when it comes to survey in the Philippines. I still have to see the ideas of the COMELEC (commission on Elections) though.

One of the surveys that caught my interest is the “Planned Activities of Registered Voters”. Quoting sws:

The special SWS Pre-Election Survey conducted from February 24-28, 2010 found that registered voters have varied planned activities for the May 2010 elections: 26% plan to watch the counting of votes, 23% attend political rallies of candidates and 20% serve in organizations that will help in having an orderly and clean election.

Other planned activities for the May 2010 elections are: be a watcher for a political candidate (15%), put up posters for politicians (11%), actively campaign for a political candidate (9%), and be a member of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) (3%).

In three pre-election surveys of 2007, to watch vote-counting and to attend political rallies were also the top planned activities for the May 2007 national elections.”

I left the Philippines when I was 22 and that was 3 years ago. I was not that mature enough to understand a lot of things about politics and I was not also exposed to the outside world and external politics… unlike now.

Looking at the results of that survey about planned activities, it seems that the voters are quite apathetic. I mean, it was not mentioned (or I have not read) that the choice in the poll/survey is mutually exclusive (if you choose one option you cannot choose another) but the percentages of participation is quite low. I mean, I can also misunderstand this survey but if only 26% of the voters wish to watch the counting of votes, does it mean that the rest are not curious enough what have become of their respective votes? Anyway, again, the sws article did not elaborate on a lot of things. The way the article is presented is very broad and confusing.

Readers like me, who are not into the world of surveys, will surely be confused. Sws put on a lot of numbers or percentages and graphical presentations and their variables but it did not explain what those variables mean. In this modern world, if you tell “watch the counting of votes”, it can also mean, (1) watch literally on voting centers, (2) watch the counting on television, (3) watch the counting through live streaming online and a lot of other ways. So which one is the meaning of that variable “watch the counting of votes”?

Information that is clear is not information at all. As I mentioned, sws is supposed to be an authority onpolls but it doesn’t seem to be in this very particular case I am presenting. If an information (it is merely a raw data in fact) is very broad and vague, it is easier for the presentor of that information (sws in this case) to confuse the public and/or manipulate them if the presentor wishes.

Please, sws personnel, make your articles/publications a bit clearer. We would like to understand things and not to be more confused. I appreciate reading in your “Survey background” how you did the survey and what is your sample size (so small for the whole population) but please, I am still asking the same thing: please elaborate/simplify/detail your variables to the reading public. Thank you.