It is “bad” to depend on the candidates’ winnability on the crowd estimates at their campaign rallies, a political analyst said Tuesday.

This, after campaign sorties of candidates for the May 9 national and local elections have attracted a mammoth crowd amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

OCTA Research fellow Ranjit Rye, who is also a political science professor at the University of the Philippines, said the pre-election surveys are more “reliable” and “accurate,” when it comes to projecting the outcomes of this year’s elections.

“Ang klaro dito sa ating mga resulta, hindi ho magandang basehan ho ‘yung rally for electoral outcomes po. Hindi rin magandang basehan ‘yung Google trends kasi hindi naman siya dinisenyo para palitan ho ‘yung you know, public opinion [on] surveys po (What is clear, based on the [partial election] results, is that the number of rally attendees is not a good basis for electoral outcomes. Google trends are also not a good basis because they are not designed to replace the public opinion on surveys),” Rye said during the “Hatol ng Bayan 2022” program aired on state-run PTV-4.

Rye said the results of partial and unofficial count of votes for this year’s elections are reflective of the “scientifically-conducted” surveys on public opinion on the Philippine elections.

He, however, acknowledged that there are some who have expressed doubt over the accuracy of the pre-election surveys.

“Iyan ang naging experience namin. Talagang grabe ang batikos sa social media. Masaya kami, at least na-validate ‘yung science ho (That’s what we have experienced. We have experienced bashing on social media. We are happy that [the partial results of the elections] validated the science [of surveys]). We’re hoping talaga (really) that people will begin to realize the importance and the reliability, ‘yung (the) precision of scientifically-conducted surveys,” Rye said.

Rye cited the case of UniTeam presidential-vice presidential tandem of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte who both dominated the pre-election surveys and the partial and unofficial tally of votes.

He said the pre-election surveys by OCTA Research, as well as private polling firms Pulse Asia and the Social Weather Stations, “mirror” the results of the initial tally.

“When you look at the OCTA Research’s estimates of survey results two weeks ago, it actually mirrors what actually happened last May 9, not perfectly but essentially,” Rye said. “Our surveys are not only accurate but also very reliable po. So in a sense, na-validate ‘yung (it validated the) science of surveys.”

While the results of this year’s elections remain unofficial, Rye said Marcos and Duterte are now “projected winners” in the presidential and vice presidential race.

“You know, we are still in the process of canvassing our votes at the national level, specifically for president and vice president. While hindi pa concluded itong process na ito (While this process has yet to conclude), it’s likely na (that) we already know the projected winners, given that more than 95 percent of the [votes have] been processed. And it’s likely to be former senator Bongbong Marcos for president and for vice president, si (it is) Mayor Sara Duterte,” he said.

Accept electoral outcomes
Despite political differences, Rye expressed optimism that the public would accept the results of the elections.

Rye said the elections should unite, not divide, the Filipino people.

“People have to reflect on the importance of democracy and of accepting the outcomes of this particular election cycle, not just for the president and the vice president but for all the other positions,” he said.

He hoped that Filipinos would stick to their goal of bringing progress to the country.

“We have to continue to work together in communities and in cooperation with the private sector and government, if we want to push the agenda of change and development for our country. So, ‘yun ho ang call natin. Importante ho na magkaisa tayo, importante po na (So, that’s our call. It’s important for us to unite and) we begin to think beyond our parties and candidates and think of what’s good for the community and for the nation,” Rye said. (PNA)