The results of the in-campus electoral survey conducted by the University Research Council (URC) of the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) are presented today, 23nd April 2013, in a special research dissemination forum at the Ateneo Board Room (F-700). This survey on the local and national elections covering both in-campus and off-campus respondents was launched by the URC, through the leadership of its chair, Ms. Lourdesita Sobrevega-Chan, on 20th February as a component of Blue Vote 2013. Blue Vote 2013 is a political-electoral engagement and advocacy of the university, initiated by the University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC) through its chair, Atty. Romeo Cabarde, Jr.
As a response to the upcoming midterm elections in May of 2013, the survey aimed at gathering election-related information for university database purposes, as well as eliciting issues and concerns which the university community would like to present to the candidates themselves, both local and national, for consideration in their political platform and agenda of governance.
Participants of the In-Campus Survey
The in-campus part of the survey was participated in by faculty from all units, students in the college, law school and high school (though optional), as well as the non-teaching staff (NTS) comprising of both agency-based and Ateneo regular personnel. The survey results were gathered from the information posted in moodle, an online learning management system (in the case of both faculty and student respondents) and, in the absence of a moodle account (in the case of the members of the non-teaching staff [NTS]), from face-to-face interviews conducted by seventeen (17) enumerators coming from the ranks of both faculty and NTS representing different programs and offices.
Design, Locale and Limitation of the Study
The poll design is basically descriptive and underscores the respondents’ perceptions of election-related issues pertinent to priority legislative agenda for both local and national, priority development assistance fund (PDAF) in the national government, national budget, leadership qualities and personality traits among candidates, as well as issues pertinent to Mindanao. Since the locale of the survey is ADDU in both the campuses of Jacinto and Matina, the respondents included both registered and non-registered voters.
Issues and Concerns Highlighted in the Survey
The highlights of the survey are as follows: More than half of the moodle respondents listed environment-related issues as the top concern which the local executive leadership should address, followed by unemployment, infrastructure, criminality, peace and order, and graft and corruption. For the NTS group, peace and order (for the local executive branch) and the environment (for the local legislative branch) topped the list, alongside other concerns such as criminality, unemployment, graft and corruption, and poor quality of health services. Education reform figures highly as the top priority area both in the local and national level, thus deserving more funding from the national government. Likewise, issues pertinent to health, employment, disaster preparedness, peace and order, food security, housing and poverty alleviation also figure as important concerns that must be prioritized as to legislations and budgetary considerations by policy-makers. Consistent to the claim made on education reform as a top priority area, respondents for both moodle and NTS posted the need for scholarships to poor but deserving students as a major priority area for PDAF.
Influence of the Media
The power of the media is highlighted as the major source of information on and about Mindanao, as well as information on the candidates’ political platform, including their leadership qualities and personality traits. In which case, television remains an important source of information for the moodle respondents, posting as high as 88.6% (the NTS posted even higher percentage, at 94%), followed by the internet (chosen by more than half of the moodlerespondents at 64.8%), with very few listing newspapers (or print media, in general) as a third option. In contrast, newspapers rank higher among the NTS respondents than the internet, especially when it comes to knowing about Mindanao issues, posting a high percentage rate of 63.4%.
Leadership Qualities and Personality Traits
The moodle respondents primarily preferred candidates who have a good grasp of the actual situation when leading, have implemented a number of programs and projects, know how to communicate their vision to their constituency, and those who strictly implement the law. Very few considered incumbency, political endorsement as well as membership in a political party as important indicators. As to the personality traits of the candidates, the moodle respondents preferred those who possess a populist approach to leading, are sincere in their intention, and have a deep concern for the poor and the oppressed. By comparison, charisma, college degree and constant exposure both on television and radio figure less in the respondents’ overall choice.
Among the top fourteen (14) in the senatorial race, not all known candidates are preferred by moodle respondents, though their last names may have already figured highly in public consciousness. In terms of the moodle respondents’ knowledge of the candidates, the top 14 are as follows: Chiz Escudero, Miguel Zubiri, Alan Peter Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Koko Pimentel, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jr., Risa Hontiveros, JV Ejercito-Estrada, Bam Aquino and Gordon (tied in place), Nancy Binay, and Chito Trillanes. But in terms of preference, the respondents’ ranked the candidates in the following order: With Escudero still topping the list, followed by Cayetano, Zubiri, Legarda, Enrile Jr., Poe, Aquino, Hontiveros, Pimentel, Gordon, Binay, Trillanes, Ejercito-Estrada and Villar.
For the NTS respondents, there are other names being added in the list of preferred candidates. In terms of knowledge of those who are running for the senate, Cayetano and Gordon topped the list, followed by Escudero, Pimentel, Legarda, Zubiri, Poe and Honasan (tied in place), Angara and Trillanes (also tied in place), Hontiveros, Enrile Jr., Madrigal, Binay and Villar (again tied in place) and Ejercito-Estrada and Aquino (likewise, occupying the same spot). As to preference, however, the NTS respondents posted their answers in the following order: Escudero, Cayetano, Pimentel, Legarda, Poe, Ejercito-Estrada, Zubiri, Trillanes, Honasan, Hontiveros, Angara and Aquino.
In the race for the congressional seat, incumbents Karlo Nograles and Isidro Ungab are preferred by moodle respondents for District 1 and 3, respectively, while Joji Bian is preferred for District 2. The NTS group also posted the same result, except for District 2 in which incumbent Mylene Garcia is chosen over Bian. However, the percentage of moodle respondents who are undecided in their choice for congressional representatives is higher than those who have already signified their preferred candidate, especially in District 2 with 40.6% and District 3 with 49.2%. In contrast, the percentage of the undecided voters among the NTS group is lower than those who have already expressed their choice.
In the local councillor’s race, Mabel Sunga Acosta topped District 1, among students and faculty in the moodle group, with an overwhelming 71.9% (13% higher for the NTS, at 85.4%), while Louie Bonguyan posted a 52.6% result for District 2 (with an increase of 18% for the NTS, at 70.9%). Meanwhile, Kaloy Bello garnered a 40% result for District 3 (again, with an overwhelming majority for the NTS group, at 83.7%).
In the mayoralty race, a resounding 92% of the moodle respondents signified that they will vote for incumbent Vice-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, while 57.9% said that they will vote for Duterte’s son, Paolo (a seating Barangay Captain of Mintal), for vice-mayor. The figures are slightly lower from the NTS group, with 85.8% and 54.1%, respectively. There is, however, a 27.4% among the NTS respondents (as compare to 18.7% for the moodle group) who are undecided for the vice-mayoralty position. Both the Dutertes are running unopposed in Davao City’s mayoralty and vice-mayoralty race.
Perceptions and Opinions on Mindanao and Davao City Elections
Another significant highlight in the survey is the respondents’ perceptions and opinions about Mindanao situation. Using the 6-point Likert scale of (1) strongly agree, (2) moderately agree, (3) somewhat agree, (4) somewhat disagree, (5) moderately disagree and (6) strongly disagree, most of the moodle respondents registered a number 3 average (“somewhat agree”) in their knowledge about the overall situation in Mindanao, its history, geography, population, economy and peace and order situation. Most moodle responses registered in this section of the survey are (more or less) in the range of 40%, with the highest posting at 49.5%.
When asked about the elections, this time juxtaposing both Mindanao and Davao City, the moodle respondents registered another number 3 average (“somewhat agree”) in their perceptions and opinions about the conduct of the elections being peaceful, clean and honest, orderly, and platforms/track record driven, rather than based on personality and connections. Responses in this section registered as high as 48.1%. What is particularly noteworthy in this section of the survey is the fact that most moodle respondents do have better opinions regarding the conduct of elections in Davao City as compared to other parts of Mindanao, or Mindanao in general.
Answers in this section vary for the NTS group. As to the respondents’ perceptions and opinions about Mindanao, most answers bordered on the scale of “moderately agree.” One response registered at “strongly agree” as regard the burgeoning gap between and among social classes. On the other hand, responses to questions pertaining to elections both in Mindanao and in Davao City revealed another angle in the survey. Unlike the moodle group, the NTS respondents somewhat disagreed to the following statements claiming that elections in Mindanao are peaceful, are clean and honest and are orderly. By comparison, they however moderately agreed that elections in Davao City are orderly, do reflect the will of the people and are based on platforms/track record. Even the city’s COMELEC got a fair hearing, by registering a 39% “moderately agree” response to its credibility and competence. The moodle group, on the other hand, gave the Davao City and Mindanao COMELEC slightly above 50% “somewhat agree” response to perceptions of their credibility and competence. The presence of political dynasty also figures in the survey, with moodle respondents giving a little above 40% “somewhat agree” answers to perception questions.
And again, just like the moodle group, the NTS respondents posted better perceptions and opinions on Davao City elections, than on Mindanao as a whole.
Hopeful, and Positive, Respondents
By and large–and on the average–both groups of respondents for the in-campus poll survey do remain hopeful and are positive about the May 2013 elections. As a matter of fact, responses from the NTS group reflected such willingness to participate in other election-related activities, such as Voter’s Education Program, Election Watch Day and Paniningil.
Pending Results of the Off-Campus Survey
To complete the whole spectrum of the poll survey results, the URC will disseminate the off-campus part of the survey on 6th May. The off-campus electoral survey, using only a guided questionnaire with no online poll component, has a more extensive sampling than the one done on in-campus, covering respondents from all over Davao City. (By M. Isabel S. Actub of Arrupe Communications & Advocacy and Ms. Lourdesita Sobrevega-Chan of the URC)