Majority is not always right

It challenges reflection how almost on a periodic basis, survey results are being published by polling circuits following a similar theme and coming out at about the same time over the same survey schedule plan. It is as if they want to capture the people’s changing mood at every tick and turn of time to the point their results begin to reflect a given percentage threshold in the nature of a statistical tie. This means that the gap between the number 1 to the number 2 and the number 2 to the number 3 and so on are on a – mere 1 point gap. In the whole, serious observers of trends might have to think that there is an evolving voting pattern across the social classes from Class A,B,C,D,E that fairly establishes with deceiving consistency their ranking order. There is reason to believe that these polling circuits are doing the population a disservice while doing their subscribers (wannabes) a favor. As early as now, polling circuits in general, may have become dubious conduits for what the COMELEC always wants to avoid – cases of trending. To my mind, polling circuits such as but not limited to – Social Weather Station, Pulse Asia and few others – have become weather stations telling us as if indubitably true what the given social climate is at a particular week in a month.

If polling circuits effectively condition the minds of the voting public, is it a crime?

No law stops polling circuits from coming out, time and again, with the results of their surveys in widely circulated newspapers of choice. That it is now being done on an uncharacteristically regular basis is tantamount to suspecting that perhaps its fast becoming an endorsement of their ‘most favored patrons’ – those who can at least burn money to see their scores in the popularity chart soar up significantly and establishes their rank in place over their rabid contenders. It then becomes nothing less compared to the usual product advertising paid to most TV outlets by giant companies to promote as well as endorse their product brands. One Anthony Taberna has even remarked that the latest survey results of the SWS – when totaled – on the percentage points derived by its short list of presidential wannabes have in fact exceeded the 100%, why is that?

The good thing about these surveys is their apparent ability to explain why Presidentiable X in relation to Presidentiable Y and in turn in relation to Presidentiable Z changes, however statistically insignificant, at every change in the political tide. In other words, we are able to be convinced that some factors – as they are actually happening – do significantly affect a changing voter’s mood on certain presidentiables. Some improve, some worsen – at any given time based on these barometers of the public pulse. But whatever these social weather stations indicate as the latest of voter’s preference and their subscriber’s winnability and ranking order, at the end of the day, the voters will go to their respective booths with nothing of the latest results of surveys from any of these polling circuits. It is not difficult to say that, one way or other, they are now involved in a ‘push and pull’ – dagdag bawas, call it that in their own ontological realms that maybe beyond the reach of any arbitrary law.

This brings me to the point now I wish to drive at. It has become of no moment what those survey results ‘scientifically’ indicate coming from a long series of survey results that obviously range back as early as 16 months before D-Day. As people normally discussed these survey results over mainstream media, those polled presidentiables, vice-presidentiables, senatoriables – directly or indirectly – benefit for fee or for free from their published results. Certainly, the big time payers sort of subsidize the small time payers who cannot patronize much less fund a survey. At the most, these small time payers can only order a copy of the book at not an entirely cheap cost since confidentiality carries with it – units of monetary value, come to think of it. Or tell us, if you may, how much can anyone get a copy of their latest survey results?

In the end, survey results may have to be placed in the back burner. Still, if we go by already clear assumptions, there is a kind of a historical given that is not easy to overcome. And this is the fact that the 40 million registered voters who will vote come May 2010 actually vote – for and in behalf – of the remaining social classes other than themselves. What does this mean? If we have 12 million votes to make a certain presidential wannabe win, extracting the specific votes from Classes A,B, and C might show their very low fraction on that 12 million configuration. Suppose we can say that only 2 million votes came from Classes A,B, and C and the rest of the 10 million came from Classes D and E – what do we have?

To my mind, this might be equivocal to stating that what we might have after 2010 is a virtual proxy voting. This means that there is at work a real tyranny of numbers itself. But as one saying goes – “Majority is not always right until it does right”. Our pyramidal social structure is responsible to this historical given. In short, we the base of the pyramid largely constituted by the Class E and some portion of Class D, given their predictable vulnerability, have in fact did proxy voting – for and in behalf – of the remaining social classes (A,B.C). So in the final analysis, where does this lead us to? What future are we talking about here in a kind of social psychosis that skilled politicians in our midst are almost always able to exploit to their own advantage?

There is no light at the end of the tunnel – whoever says there is?