The extensive questionnaires of both the Feb. 15-17 and the April 13-15 SWS national surveys of registered voters included items on a) religious affiliation, b) frequency of church attendance, and c) voting preferences for senatorial candidates in the next elections.
These three questions were noncommissioned. No one paid SWS to ask them; they are SWS’ intellectual property. The authority to use the findings of these three questions, including deciding if and when to publish them, rests solely with SWS. This column examines data from these items to see if there is a relationship, among Catholics in particular, between their preferences for senatorial candidates and their churchgoing habits.
Some prominent members of the Catholic hierarchy and laity have been campaigning for a so-called “Team Buhay” and against a so-called “Team Patay.” Presumably, their campaign reaches out to weekly churchgoing Catholics—henceforth abbreviated as WCC—much more than to those who attend church less frequently. If their campaign is effective, then, among the WCC, the rankings of the candidates they love should be higher, and the rankings of the candidates they hate should be lower, than among all Filipino voters in general—henceforth abbreviated as PH.
“Team Buhay.” The six candidates on this “team” are Cynthia Villar, Koko Pimentel, JV Ejercito Estrada, Antonio Trillanes IV, Gringo Honasan, and Mitos Magsaysay. For two of them, there are signs of a positive churchgoer vote (in their rank-order in the April survey).
The first beneficiary seems to be Mitos Magsaysay. In the April survey, she is No. 21 in PH, but No. 19 in WCC, or a big gain of +2 ranks. This is better than in the February survey, when she ranked No. 21.5 in PH (due to a tie with Eddie Villanueva for Nos. 21-22), and No. 21 in WCC, or a gain of only +0.5 in rank.
In the April survey, Cynthia Villar ranks as No. 3.5 in PH (due to a tie with Nancy Binay for Nos. 3-4), but as No. 3 in WCC, or a gain of +0.5 in rank. This is better than in February, when she was No. 4 in both PH and WCC, indicating no churchgoer impact at that time. So she appears as the second beneficiary.
In April, JV Ejercito ranks as No. 7.5 (tied with Pimentel for Nos. 7-8) in both PH and WCC, i.e. showing no net effect. In February, however, he was No. 9.5 in PH, and No. 9 in WCC. Thus his rank benefit of 0.5 in February is now gone.
In April, Pimentel was No. 7.5 in PH, but was No. 9 in WCC. In February he was No. 5.5 in PH, but was No. 7.5 in WCC. The drops in rank by 1.5 places in April and by 2 places in February are not what the Team Buhay campaign intended.
In April, Trillanes was No. 10.5 in PH and No. 11.5 in WCC, putting him down by 1 rank. In February, he was No. 8 in PH and No. 10 in WCC, or down by 2 ranks.
In April, Honasan was No. 12.5 in PH and only No. 15 in WCC, or down by 2.5 ranks among churchgoers. In February, he was No. 15 in PH and No. 17 among WCC, or down by 2 ranks. Thus churchgoers have been going against
Pimentel, Trillanes, and Honasan.
“Team Patay.” The seven on this “team” are Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Juan “Jack” Ponce Enrile Jr., Risa Hontiveros, and Teddy Casiño. Three of them—Escudero, Enrile, and Hontiveros—have indeed ranked lower among churchgoers in the surveys.
In April, Escudero is No. 5 in PH but is No. 5.5 in WCC; the drop of 0.5 in rank indicates a slight churchgoer effect. In February, he was No. 2 in both PH and WCC, i.e., at that time there was no effect, but now there is some effect.
The most affected is Enrile. In April, he is No. 12.5 in PH, and No. 14 in WCC. In February, he was No. 13 in PH and No. 14 in WCC. In his case, the drops in rank by 1.5 in April and by 1 in February put him completely out of the WCC’s winning circle.
The next affected is Hontiveros. In April, she is No. 16.5 in PH, and No. 18 in WCC, or a rank-drop of 1.5. This is worse than in February, when she was No. 18 in both PH and WCC, i.e., there was no effect at that time.
Three other candidates of Team Patay had no rank-difference among the WCC. Legarda was No. 1 in PH and WCC, in both April and February. Alan Cayetano was No. 2 in PH and WCC in April, and No. 3 in PH and WCC in February.
Casiño was No. 24 in PH and WCC, in both April and February.
In addition, there is one Team Patay candidate who does better in WCC than in PH. In April, Sonny Angara is No. 9 in PH but is No. 7.5 in WCC, i.e., he enjoys a rank-benefit of 1.5. He even improved from February, when he was
No. 11.5 in PH and No. 11 in WCC, or a rank-benefit of only 0.5.
Summary. Only three of the six members of Team Buhay gained in rank, and only three of the seven members of Team Patay dropped in rank, among weekly churchgoing Catholics compared to registered voters as a whole.
But the changes in rank are quite small, and hardly alter the picture of the potential winning circle. In February, the top 12 among WCC voters and the top 12 among all voters were the same persons. In April, they are also the same persons, except that Ramon Magsaysay Jr. is in the 12 of the WCC, at the expense of Enrile.
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The tabulation of ranks of candidates by religion and frequency of churchgoing was done by Josefina Mar of SWS. The comparison of the ranks of all candidates among WCC voters to their ranks among all voters, for both February and April, will be published in the SWS website.
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