The recent Pulse Asia surveys reveal the surge of the controversial Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte. With a rating of 33 percent, the tough-talking Davao mayor is ahead of Sen. Grace Poe who got a rating of 22 per cent, making the latter a far second and statistically tied with Mar Roxas, who in turn got 20 percent.
With the election frenzy in the air, many have begun to ask: Do the numbers mean that Duterte will be our 16 President?
The Philippine Star reports that experts were reassuring, "the race is still wide open," "it is a close fight," "anybody can win." But if we are to look back-surveys in previous election seasons have gotten it right, more than once.
Philstar said: “Independent research firms have repeatedly predicted the outcome of the national polls, according to a 2004 report by Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism's (PCIJ) Yvonne Chua. She cited two instances-the 1992 and the 1998 presidential elections-where the Social Weather Stations (SWS) foretold the results. Gen. Fidel Ramos and Miriam Santiago neck-and-neck in the former (26.8 percent against 25); and Joseph Estrada via landslide (33 percent) in the latter.”
However, in an ABS-CBN interview, De La Salle University’s (DLSU) Julio Teehankee said that voters do not necessarily go for who is leading in the surveys and that the latest controversies surrounding Duterte’s bank deposits could still affects his chances.
Moreover, DLSU’s Jaime S. Ong posited in a 2004 journal that research organizations or their field counterparts are corruptible and are "as vulnerable as they are to sampling and non-sampling error, election surveys by reputable research firms provide as representative a snapshot, or series of snapshots, of voter sentiment as one can devise."
"[T]he outcome of the elections - flawed and bungled as they were - determines who gets to hold office for the next three or six years, regardless of what the surveys might have indicated. The rules of democracy require that this be so: it is the vote, not the survey, that determines the elected leader," said Ong.