SWS Manipulating the Public – Tatad

Senatorial candidate Francisco “Kit” Tatad accused the Social Weather Stations (SWS) on Wednesday (April 15) of foisting on the public questionable results from two recent surveys that it supposedly conducted within a week of each other in March.

He also charged the poll survey firm with presenting dubious data on undecided and uncommitted voters, which markedly differ from clear trends already established in its own surveys for the 1998 and 2004 presidential elections.

Tatad questioned the capability of SWS to conduct separately, as it reported, its survey for Business World on March 19-22 and the survey for Rep. Ronaldo Zamora on March 28-30.

“For a firm that only started conducting its surveys in-house only a few years ago, SWS would have us believe that it can now conduct a national survey every week,” Tatad said.

“This is incredible and local polling experts say so. The work involves interviewing respondents face-to-face and house-to-house all over our far-flung archipelago, collating the data, and analyzing the results,” he pointed out. “In the past, this work usually took three months, with SWS outsourcing the survey to a professional market research firm. Now, overnight, SWS is claiming an unbelievable capability for rapid polling.”

The former senator said that he strongly suspected that SWS did not conduct separate surveys for the two commissioned jobs. “It’s possible that SWS just transferred percentages from one candidate to another to produce the second poll,” he said.

The SWS Zamora survey reported an increase of 1 percent for Villar and 2 percent for Teodoro, and a decrease of 2 percent for Estrada and 1 percent for Gordon, while retaining the same percentage for Aquino when the two survey results are compared with each other.

Tatad also questioned the stark difference in undecided voters between the recent SWS surveys and its concluding surveys for the 1998 and 2004 presidential elections.

SWS reported in its surveys for Business World and Congressman Zamora that the number of undecided is only 4 to 5 percent of voters. This differs considerably from the historical pattern of about a quarter of Filipino voters being undecided just before election day.

“No less than Mahar Mangahas himself reported that in its May 1-4 pre-election survey for the 2004 election, there were 12% undecided and 12% uncommitted,” Tatad said.

He also quoted Mangahas’ own statement that “in 1998, one out of every five voters decided on whom to vote for president only on the day of the election itself.”

“Have we Filipinos changed so much and has the country changed so dramatically over the past six years that we are more decided now for the May elections?” Tatad asked. “Or is this a case of the pollster just being more decided and committed?”

The former senator said that the statistical inconsistency is too glaring to be ignored. “The current SWS figures are incredible in light of the fact that historically and in many countries some 25 percent of voters make their decisions on who to vote for during the week of the election,” he said.
He said that the dubious data from the recent SWS surveys reinforce his earlier reports that Philippine election surveys are fatally flawed and should not be allowed to dictate on the May 10 election. #

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