Surveys and the Numbers Game

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 ·

With the 2010 election less than a year to go, the public is again spoon-fed with survey results showing Candidate A leading the pack while Candidate B trails far at the bottom. Just recently, we have heard from the news about the latest SWS and Pulse Asia Surveys giving us a glimpse of who might win as President if elections were done today.

Even network giants ABS-CBN and GMA fight relentlessly to get the top spot in the audience share. Frankly, I was disheartened few weeks ago about how one TV network tried to discredit a survey firm because they lost in the ratings. The network even supported their claim by giving comparing the survey firm’s number of clients to the other survey firm who put them in first place.

Ah, Surveys. They are everywhere. From who leads the presidential race to who might win in the senatorial elections; to whoever between GMA and ABS-CBN got the edge on last nights audience share; to how many percent of the Filipinos are unemployed; and to which amongst the government agencies are the most corrupt at all.

And, as always, somebody will always voice out a rebuttal as to one survey’s accuracy. Politicians not making it on top of the list saying surveys are not representative of the whole voting population. Media trying to say that one survey firm is not reliable. Analysts and commentators giving views that surveys are not the real thing and should not be used as basis for decision-makings.

But thru it all, Survey Firms still exist and do good business in the country. They still flourish, and even acquire more and more clients along the way.

If we try to dig and gain understanding, must we realize that maybe those people and organizations who gain top spots, and even those lose to number two or number three are the ones who keep the survey firms alive by commissioning them to do fieldwork to obtain a representative sampling?

Survey Firms will never be able to endure business if not for the many interested persons and groups who pay much in just to know what survey says about them-good or bad.


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