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Fact check: Supposed 'exit poll' among OFWs in Hong Kong is misleading

Philstar.com
Fact check: Supposed 'exit poll' among OFWs in Hong Kong is misleading
Filipinos based in Hong Kong fall in line hoping to cast their votes on the first day of the overseas voting period.
Philippine Consul General to Hong Kong Raly Tejada

MANILA, Philippines — A Twitter user on Sunday night released supposed exit poll results for the first day of overseas voting in Hong Kong

CLAIM: Social media user Kim Indar posted a screenshot of a supposed exit poll where more than 3,300 voters supposedly said they picked Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., while his rivals only logged two-digit votes.

Rating

This is misleading.

Facts

What the posts say

Indar posted on her Twitter that of those who voted in Hong Kong on April 10, there were 3,357 who said they voted for Marcos, while Vice President Leni Robredo had 65, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno has 18 and Sen. Manny Pacquiao had 15.

Her first screenshot posted 9:02 p.m., did not indicate a source.

Indar, who has been identified in an Abogado article as a city prosecutor, later tweeted that she merely shared an exit poll and not official results from the Commission on Elections.

"Figures may not be accurate but more or less it would be close. Because the basis is interview of people who voted," she insisted.

On Monday morning, she tweeted three more screenshots of supposed exit poll results — all with Marcos leading.

What they left out

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, in a tweet, explained that "as a general rule, unless a known and reputable survey firm released the exit poll, this is not reliable."

"Especially in social media, it is easy to make official looking forms or graphics that look [legitimate]," he added in Filipino.

The Consulate General of the Philippines Hong Kong also said in its Sunday bulletin that 3,285 voters cast their vote on the first day of overseas voting in Hong Kong. Of these, three were rejected due to unnecessary marks on the ballots.

But Indar’s first exit poll tweet showed a total of 3,455 voters interviewed. In her succeeding tweet, the total was 3,434 and 3,225.

Essential context

Jimenez also stressed that the "exit poll" is not the official tally of votes for the 2022 elections. While overseas voting starts a month before the polls in the country, their votes will still be counted after the end of election day on May 9.

On Monday morning, the Marcos campaign team released a press statement claimining their canddiate was the "runaway winner with 85% of OFW votes in HK and 83% in Qatar."

It named a certain Bryan Calagui who conducted an unofficial tally of at least 5,00 voters. OFW Annaliza Segura meanwhile conducted a similar exit poll in Qatar, the statement said.

The campaign team claimed: "Exit polls are considered reliable predictors of an election result since the information obtained is from actual voters who cast their ballots on election day."

In the latest Pulse Asia survey, Marcos maintained his lead in the presidential race by a wide margin, even as his numbers declined by four percentage points, while Vice President Leni Robredo, his closest rival for Malacañang, surged by nine percentage points.

Why it matters

The exit poll issue landed on Philstar.com’s monitoring of social media channels on Monday.

Elections Lawyer Emil Marañon, who is affiliated with the Robredo campaign, pointed out that Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Elections Code "prohibits the announcement of the results of exit polls before the closing of the polls… as it promotes trending."

Releasing exit polls ahead of the closing of the elections day is also prohibited, he added.

The Fair Elections Code further read: "Said announcement shall state that the same is unofficial and does not represent a trend." 

In general, the Comelec has taken the position that complaints and call outs on social media must be accompanied by actual legal complaints for cases to go forward.

— Kristine Joy Patag

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This story is part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts.

Philstar.com is also a founding partner of Tsek.ph, a collaborative fact-checking project for the 2022 Philippines’ elections. It is an initiative of academe, civil society groups and media to counter disinformation and provide the public with verified information.

Want to know more about our fact-checking initiative? Check our FAQs here.

Have a claim you want fact-checked? Reach out to us at [email protected]

2022 ELECTIONS

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BONGBONG MARCOS

COMELEC

FACT CHECK

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