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Holiday survey news

/ 01:54 AM December 26, 2015

This Christmas—one of the sacred days for Christians like me—may I extend to everyone, regardless of religion, as well as those with no religion, my personal greetings of goodwill, and wishes for happy holidays.

I phrase my greeting this way since Social Weather Stations is completely secular, with no preference for any religion. Our policy is to be fair to persons of all beliefs, and even to nonbelievers. We used to have Christmas parties, until we discovered that some employees would be unable to join under the rules of their own religions. Now our parties are called Pasasalamat and are enjoyed by all.

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Expectations for a happy Christmas are quite high. Seventy-two percent of adult Filipinos are expecting a happy Christmas this year, according to the Fourth Quarter Social Weather Survey, done last Dec. 5-8. There are also 7 percent expecting it to be sad, and 20 percent expecting it to be neither happy nor sad.

The latest 72 is the highest Christmas happy-percentage in 12 years, exceeded only by a 77 in 2003 and an 80 in 2002, when SWS began monitoring the Christmas mood each year. From 2004 to 2013, all the Christmas happy-rates were in the 60s; they went as low as 62 three times. It was 71 percent last year.

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The percentages expecting a happy Christmas are higher in the Visayas (77) and Mindanao (76) than in the Balance of Luzon (70) and the National Capital Region (69). This pattern of expectations being happier in the south compared to the north also prevailed in previous years.

Expectations of a happy Christmas are highest among the youth, and decline with age, up to a point. The happy-percentage is 82 in ages 18-24, 74 in ages 25-34, 70 in ages 35-44, and 66 in ages 45-54. Then it becomes 73 in ages 55 and up. A flattening or a rising in the top age group was also common before.

It is better to give than to receive. The December 2015 survey also found those saying

“It is better to give than to receive this Christmas” to be 77 percent. This percentage was 75 in both 2013 and 2014.

Among those saying it is better to be a giver, 75 percent expect a happy Christmas. On the other hand, among those saying it is better to be a receiver, only 65 percent expect a happy Christmas.

Does this not show that the prayers of St. Francis, “… [I]t is in giving that we receive…,” and St. Ignatius of Loyola, “Lord, teach me to be generous … to give, and not to count the cost…,” are taken to heart by Filipinos?

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“Poe, Binay, Roxas and Duterte lead presidential race.” This was the title of the SWS media release of Dec. 23, 2015, which was based on a special SWS-BusinessWorld preelection survey done on Dec. 12-14, 2015. This survey was separate from the Dec. 5-8, 2015, Fourth Quarter Social Weather Survey that gave the satisfaction ratings of President Aquino, Vice President Jejomar Binay and other top officials, as well as the expectations of a happy Christmas described above.

Although the Dec. 12-14 survey obtained intentions to vote for Grace Poe and Binay that both rounded off to 26 percentage points, it also gave Poe a fractional lead over Binay. It was out of consideration for that fractional lead that the title of the SWS report put Poe before Binay.

Duterte has dropped from the lead. The most striking finding of the Dec. 12-14 survey was not the tie of Poe and Binay for first place, but the drop of Rodrigo Duterte to fourth place at 20 percent, or below Mar Roxas’ third place at 22 percent.

Only two weeks earlier, in a Nov. 26-28 SWS survey, Duterte had been in first place (see my “Partisan criticism of a survey,” Opinion, 12/12/2015). Critics who call the SWS November survey “flawed,” but have no scientific survey in the same period which contradicts it, may be dismissed. Have they not encountered large shifts in election races before? Well, I have.

The points lost by Duterte went primarily to Roxas, who thereby crept to only 4 points behind Poe and Binay. Poe and Binay gained in equal measure, translating their joint second place in November into a joint first place as of Dec. 12-14. There was no change in voter support for Miriam Santiago, who remains in fifth with 4 points.

Trying to be fair to the lesser-known presidential candidates, SWS-BW also included Lito David, Camilo Sabio, Elly Pamatong, Roy Señeres and Augusto Syjuco in the survey list, for a total of 10 candidates. But David got only 0.1 percent, Sabio got only 0.04 percent, and the rest all got zero.

Robredo has advanced to joint second place for VP. The second most striking finding of the Dec. 12-14 survey is the advance of Leni Robredo to a tie for second place in the vice-presidential race, together with Bongbong Marcos at 19 percentage points. Compared to November, Robredo gained 7 points and Marcos lost 5 points, thus wiping out Marcos’ former 12-point lead over Robredo.

Since Alan Peter Cayetano lost 4 points, Robredo’s gain of 7 points implied a net 11 point improvement for her vis-à-vis Cayetano. Thus, Cayetano’s old 9-point lead over Robredo in November translated into a 2-point lead of Robredo over him in December, and he slid from third place to fourth place.

Meanwhile, Chiz Escudero maintained his voter strength at 30 percent in both November and December. He stays in first, with a bigger lead over Marcos and Cayetano now (since Marcos and Cayetano both lost points), but must watch out for the surging Robredo who has cut her deficit from 18 points to only 11.

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TAGS: Christmas, Elections 2016, elections survey, holiday survey, Social Weather Stations
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