Home > THE LAYLO REPORT > NEWS AWARENESS AFFECTS CURRENT PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCES

NEWS AWARENESS AFFECTS CURRENT PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCES

By Pedro “Junie” Laylo Jr., Standard Resident Pollster

The political campaign is a dynamic process and surveys simply reflect this dynamism as it monitors the ups and downs in voter preferences for candidates.  As the electoral campaign progresses, voters are all the more exposed to what candidates say or do.  Much of the information they get is based on what they watch, hear, or read thru various media forms. This information affects voter decisions and thus can turn to either bigger or smaller vote conversions for specific candidates.

In the March 21-23, 2010 Manila Standard survey, Senator Benigno Aquino III pulled away from Senator Manuel  Villar Jr., widening his lead to 13 points.  Compared to just three weeks ago, Aquino has gained much headway, which can be explained by the data gathered in the survey.

One concept that is closely linked with the vote is the degree of trust in candidates.  Three weeks earlier, Aquino and Villar both had the same high levels of trust. The latest survey shows declines in trust ratings for the leading contenders: While Aquino’s trust level declined by three points, Villar suffered a staggering 12-point drop.

An assessment of the candidates’ exposure both from earned media (news that come out about them) and paid media (advertisements/commercials they themselves paid for), one can see that the major candidates continue to enjoy high levels of exposure, with Villar having slightly higher levels than the other candidates. While news awareness on candidates has somewhat declined, they remain at high levels. Also, there has been a big uptick in the number of radio ads heard and posters/billboards seen.

However, the more important thing to look at is the degree by which actual exposure both from earned and paid media, as well as trust, can translate into actual votes for the candidates. The previous Laylo report assessed how much of the exposure of and trust in candidates translate into actual votes for that candidate. In January, Villar was able to catch up with Aquino due to his high levels of media exposure.  In February, Aquino led by a hair because his media exposure was at par with Villar’s.

In the latest March 21-23 Manila Standard Poll, Villar lost steam because of declines in his vote conversion rates. Compared to three weeks earlier, Villar’s vote conversion rates suffered declines: five points from among those who are aware of news about him; six points from among those who watched his TV ads; seven points from among those who heard his radio ads, six points from among those who read his newspaper ads; eight points from among those who saw his posters/billboards; and five points from among those aware that Villar visited their place since the start of the campaign.

On the other hand, Aquino surged because of increases in vote conversions:  seven points from among those who are aware of news about him; six points from among those who watched his TV ads; five points from among those who heard his radio ads; one point from among those who saw his posters/billboards; and 15 points from among those aware that Aquino visited their place since the start of the campaign.

This reveals that while Villar had a slight advantage over others in terms of media exposure, his vote conversions from among those who watched, heard or read news about him and from those who were able to watch, hear, or read his ads have gone down compared to three weeks ago.  Aquino, on the other hand, had significant increases in vote conversions from those able to access news about him, as well as his TV and radio ads. This could be a sign that Villar has been affected by the negative news content about him, while Aquino might have benefitted from the positive news content about him.

The trust-to-vote conversion rates also give some support to this observation.  Aquino’s voter conversion rate among those who trust him increased to 55percent, eight points up from his previous 47 percent. In the case of Villar, it moved up only one point up 44 percent.

As mentioned at the outset of this article, the political campaign is very dynamic.  The Manila Standard poll also monitors the potential for voters to still change their minds. As of March 21 to 23, there were about 47 percent who could still change their voter preference for President.  This has slightly declined from the 53 percent in the last poll but is still a significant plurality.  Also, about half of the voters for each candidate can potentially shift their votes to other candidates.

Tables News Awareness Affects Current Presidential Preferences 0310-RP

With elections more than a month away, the Manila Standard Today Polls will continue to track the developments in the 2010 elections; reporting the ups and downs, as well as the highs and lows of the Filipino voting patterns as it unfolds.

The results of the Manila Standard Today Poll and The Laylo Report can be accessed in the web at https://mstpoll.wordpress.com. Questions, comments can be sent via email to mstpoll@gmail.com.

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