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Sentinel Times first online poll survey

Tumbas Manipis
by John A. Bello

The Sentinel Times conducted its first online poll survey for Quezon gubernatorial race last March 31 or 2 days after the election campaign for local candidates has began on Mar. 29. Just like any surveys, political or otherwise, online or not, it has its limits so that it is vulnerable to criticisms, potshots and nitpickings. The ST online poll only asks the question: Who is your incoming governor? Quezon Reps. Vicente ‘Kulit’ Alcala or Danilo Suarez? There are, of course, other political candidates who filed their certificate of candidacy for governor in Quezon aside from Alcala and Suarez. They are former Lucban mayor Serafin Dator, former 4th district provincial board member Sonny Pulgar, former Padre Burgos mayor Ding Villenas and Fatima Abuy. Not to downplay or belittle these other gubernatorial candidates, the ST believes, and I for one believe, that the Quezon gubernatorial race would only be between Kulit Alcala and Danny Suarez. Why? It is obvious that only the two have the political and financial resources and logistics to really wage a serious election campaign from the start to finish up to the May 13 elections. And besides, the Quezon voters know too well about the political families of Alcala and Suarez and their minds and imaginations are fired up who is between the two will emerge the winner after the elections. I am not privy really to the decision and conduct of the ST online poll and I think that is the most probable reason why the ST limited its first online poll to the top two gubernatorial contenders.

The ST online poll has its clear disclaimer: Ang online poll na ito ay hindi siyentipiko. Hindi ito kumakatawan sa mga opinion ng publikong Pilipino sa kabuuan. Ito ay isang reaksiyon lamang ng mga online visitors ng www.sentineltimes.net at ng www.facebook.com/ Sentinel Times Online na kusang sumali sa poll.

I don’t know if any political poll survey, online or not, like the ones being regularly conducted by Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia - the two leading poll survey undertakers during elections whether presidential or midterm elections - has indeed become scientific such that it can precisely predict or measure the voting sentiments of the Filipino people. But the SWS and PA have done respectably their tasks of approximately determining the sentiments and wishes of the electorate such that what they listed as the top senatorial contenders get to be winners in the polls and even their placement or sequences as winners are almost correct. Thus there is really perhaps science in political surveys and numbers and, of course, both SWS and PA have been at it numerous times in previous elections and even in the areas of economics and culture behaviors so that it has become known to them like the palms of their hands, so to speak.

I remember my good friend, Mr. Hobart Dator of Lucban, who seems to abhor the conduct of poll surveys among political candidates. Like what most others say, he says these poll surveys are misleading or tend to brainwash the voters to only vote those who are in the top winning circle of the poll surveys. He said that the poll surveys should not be published in the newspapers so that the reading public will not be influenced or swayed in their decision to vote for the candidates of their choice come election time. He thinks, like many others, that there are always individuals with vested interests in the result who are behind these conduct of poll surveys. In short, who are commissioning these surveys, is what determines the result. Of course, I believe, SWS and PA have become credible and professional enough to be tarnished or ruined by accusations or suspicions that their poll surveys are bought.

This much I say: nobody or no group, political or otherwise, has commissioned or even approached the Sentinel Times to conduct its first online pre-election survey. It has only undertaken the online poll with the sole desire to know the pulse and sentiments of the Quezon electorate who they want this early as governor, more than a month yet before the May 13, 2019 elections.

ST publisher Nimfa Estrellado minces no words in her Facebook post: Nakakatuwa yung mga nagbibintang sa Sentinel Times na kesyo sponsored daw ng pulitiko o may pinapaburan. Ni minsan ba may nakita kayong post ko na maka-PULA ako o BERDE? Sariling pera, pagod, pawis, oras at puhunan ko sa dyaryo at website ko. Ipaglalaban ko ang pangalan ng Sentinel Times. Walang sinuman ang pwede sumira niyan.

As of Sunday, April 7, 7AM, the Sentinel Times online poll shows that from a total of 817 participants who voted online, Alcala got 335 votes while Suarez got 482. It also generated 66 comments and 69 shares, a mere drop in the ocean of online denizens but there it is to create a ripple effect outward and outside the internet web.