Can Mar Roxas win?

FROM FAR AND NEAR - Ruben Almendras - The Freeman

It has been three weeks since the announcement that Mar Roxas is the official candidate of the Liberal Party, and the endorsement of Aquino that Roxas is the administration candidate that will continue the successful policies and initiatives of the PNoy presidency. That there has been no loud and widespread dissent from the LP and some of the coalition parties, but only muted murmurs of preference for Grace Poe, augurs well for Roxas.

This is important because a solid party backing and from coalition members, carries with it the nationwide political machinery of the incumbent national, provincial and local officials that would translate to 20 to 25 percent of the voters. In a three- or four-way contest for the presidency, this percentage is a bankable and solid base. In the next few weeks leading to the October deadline for the filing of the certificates of candidacy, the announcement, the endorsements, and the sorties of Mar Roxas since then, with the consequent media exposures are expected to bring up his poll survey ratings to these 20-25 percent levels.

For the same reasons, events and happenings about Poe, Binay or Duterte as these are known and perceived by the people, would also affect the poll ratings of these potential candidates. The new revelations of Binay anomalies like the ghost senior citizens of Makati, the birthday celebration of FPJ in the cemetery, or the release of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile on bail granted by the Supreme Court, would impact on the next poll surveys positively or negatively on all the presidential wannabes. The next two poll surveys on voter preference just before October would be most crucial for these candidates, and may even be the last factor that will make them decide whether to run and for what office.

From a statistical viewpoint, in terms of determining dominant trends, the next two poll ratings will provide two additional reference points in the charts, which will show the strength and firmness of the trend lines of the different candidates. That the rating of a candidate is rising or going down is important, but what is more important, is the rate of increase or decrease of the ascent or descent of the ratings of the candidate. In basic mathematics, this is called the "slope," and is determined by computing the "rise" over the "run" or the length of the vertical rise over the length of the horizontal run. It is a positive slope if it is ascending and a negative slope if it is descending. But for the purpose of determining trend lines, it is the steepness of the slope that is significant. If Roxas rating jumps from 15 to 25 percent, the slope or the steepness of the climb is huge vis-à-vis Poe's movement from 30 to 35 percent. If Binay drops from 30 to 20 percent, that would be a very big negative slope or steep dive. The next two poll ratings, hopefully in end August and end September, will give us two more points, which if correlated with the previous ratings by simple linear regression, will give us the slope of the ratings line of the probable presidential candidates, and may indicate if one candidate can catch up with another. If the positive slope is low, that candidate will not be able to catch up with the frontrunner before election day. If a candidate has a negative slope, and a steep one at that, then unless an event happens that will reverse the slope from negative to positive, that candidate cannot expect to win.

The end of September, or the week before the deadline for the filing of the certificates of candidacy will really be crunch time for the presidential hopefuls. I am quite sure they will be cognizant of the poll surveys of the two respectable polling agencies, SWS and Pulse Asia. These two firms have track records and reputations at stake, so I am only referring to the polls of these two agencies and to no other polling agencies. I have met some of the principals of SWS and they are very professional and ethical.

The handlers of the different candidates will surely do their own more sophisticated statistical analysis and come up with their options, including teaming up with the other candidates. Depending on the next poll survey ratings, Mar Roxas can win, but Grace Poe can also win. But depending also on the next poll survey ratings, a Roxas-Poe tandem or a Poe-Roxas tandem could be a sure winner.

Nobody can predict or forecast with certainty or accuracy, because no one can predict events from happening in the future; and it is these events that affect the winnability of a candidate. Some events may have large impact, while others may not matter at all to the candidates. The poll ratings are consequences of events that have already happened, and may change on the happening of certain events, but if no major events occur that will greatly affect the trend lines and the slopes of the trend lines, it is a very good indicator of the next president of the Philippines.


The widespread negative reaction in the main media and the social media on the release of Enrile on bail by the Supreme Court I had not totally expected. I had anticipated some criticism on the Justices that voted for the grant of bail, but the critical reactions from all the different social classes in the radio, the newspapers, and the internet was dominant. While it would be mostly the middle class up to the upper class, since a large segment of the lower classes were unaware, these reactions are very promising as far as the social and political involvement of the Filipinos are concerned. The coming 2016 election should validate this greater awareness of our people.

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