Second of two parts
[The first part appeared on Tuesday August 12.]
At this level, all sorts of manipulation are made by all camps to suit the results of the survey in their favor. And these manipulations make our system pl iable to early negative operations, destroying the person (not yet declared) and thereby removing him from the frame.
A declared candidate is even placed in a bad position because all his acts are gamed. The gaming part already weakens the brand that even while ahead, issues are tested and determined whether it is a potential bomb that once released could cause the declared candidate to buckle.
In this present instant, the Vice President has declared his intent and from the public release of a nationwide survey, it appears that the more candidates in the arena, the worse off for him right now. A one-on-one, on the other hand, gives the VP a unique strength to clobber a potential opponent.
A candidate behaves differently during the campaign and any dipstick would show that. A potential candidate not leading may change once we reach the campaign period. The 90-day period matters more than any pre-campaign poll and serious candidates know that. Again, go back to the concept of measure capacity.
Some people do not subscribe to the proposition that the presidency is destiny. If it were, then let’s just not prepare. It is destiny is a conclusion naysayers would want to promote against candidates who they do not support or it is a statement that ends all debate, right? If it were, destiny should have smiled kindly to Monching Mitra (with a huge LDP machinery) or Danding Cojuangco (money factor and natural bases) or Miriam Defensor Santiago (she had the youth and was very popular), Joseph Estrada (a mayor who dreamt of being president but did not realize early enough he was president already) or Noli de Castro (popular, has a mass base, probably the backing of a strong media conglomerate but has no fire in his belly).
Some people say that the presidency is for the public to offer. Now that statement is a lot of bull because if it were then the true public clamor wont see any of the names banded around as the true leader of the people. One runs for the presidency not because of public clamor but because you have a vision where to take this country. You have a plan to win and you have a team to manage and govern. A clamor is just icing on the cake, if and when it happens.
Continuity of good policies is critical but no one has defined one self to better the issues of the day. Corruption and non-performance have been thrown at certain personalities seeking the presidency. Being the candidate of the incumbent is being framed and primed as if the voters matter to them. But what are the voters saying? Clear and crisp, “wala na bang iba?” And yet, those with moist eyes for the position have not defined themselves outside of the establishment. Why? You think you will win as a brand extension of an Aquino?
The difference of voter and vote
To exercise power is to win but we have seen that to win does not mean one can effectively govern and manage the imperatives of the presidency. Beyond winnability is being more than just a pragmatist. Beyond winnability is looking at the full continuum of leadership. Beyond winnability is setting aside horse races of undeclared candidates. Beyond winnability is demanding of commercial survey houses to stop horse races among unequals—polls that tend to promote “reflexive prediction” wherein people will vote according to what is predicted.
Here is an example to prove this point. A research was done where half were asked if it was “important to vote” and the other half were asked if it was “important to be a voter.” With this one difference, the people who read the word “voter” were nearly 14 percent more likely to actually vote on Election Day. The researchers suspected that using the word “voter” caused people to identify themselves with the word. Since these people considered themselves to be voters, they were more likely to get out and vote.
On the other hand, using the word “vote” implied that the survey was asking the people to perform a task. Even if they answered “yes” to the question, they felt no association with the word (i.e., they weren’t voters, they were just being told to vote), so they were less likely to follow through. One was about a simple action, the other was about being a type of person.
Question frames do matter in a close race. Results (within the margin of error) during campaign period, is a battle on the margins. Swing votes rule and that is not destiny as 2010 showed us.