• Public cautioned vs election surveys

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    BUHAY party-list Rep. Lito Atienza has cautioned the public against being swayed by numerous surveys coming out on candidates for different positions, while reminding them to be more discerning in their choice of leaders.

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    “[There are surveys showing that a particular candidate is leading a race, only for pollsters like Pulse Asia to deny it]. Surveys are obviously being used to influence voters’ decisions in the coming elections to the extent of fabricating them. [They are far from the truth and they even used media to advance the agenda of whoever commissioned the surveys]. These surveys are being used by all camps to promote themselves and to distort the true sentiments of our people,” Atienza said during the weekly media forum at Serye Restaurant in Quezon City.

    He urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to look into regulating the use of surveys during the official campaign period.

    “[If the Comelec monitors advertisements and sizes of campaign materials, why can’t it subject surveys to the same checking when these surveys are being used for mindsetting or trendsetting]? Candidates are free to conduct surveys even until election day but the results should be kept private and not be published in mass media,” Atienza said.

    During the 2013 elections, surveys were published showing Buhay party-list being ranked at just 37th among party-list groups but emerged as the number one party-list garnering more than 1.3 million votes.

    Atienza assured the public that upon resumption of Congress after the May 2016 elections, he would file a bill to strictly regulate the conduct of surveys in political campaigns and for the results to be only for the private use of candidates.

    “In our bill, Comelec should impose strict rules disallowing the publication and announcement of surveys at least 2 months before elections. This is to avoid unduly influencing voters’ decisions since voters tend to side with those perceived to be popular in the surveys, creating a false bandwagon effect. With so many surveys coming out specially in urban centers, voters tend to get confused and the issues get muddled. The electorate should take it upon themselves to study all the issues involved,” he said.

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