Last week the results of that poll were released on the Fifth Anniversary of the Edsa 2 event, which was not celebrated, ocmmemorated or even MENTIONED by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, its principsal beneficiary. The attitudes of Filipinos to the various "People Power" events of the post-Marcos era thus have a poignant relevance to current and future events. Dr. Ana Maria L Tabunda gives the Highlights of Pulse Asia's periodic Ulat ng Bayan (National Report) --
As the country commemorates the January 2001 People Power exercise, survey findings show that a big plurality of Filipinos (42%) did not favor this or any of the other “People Power” rallies that ousted or attempted to oust the country’s president – a sentiment that is most pronounced in the Visayas (50%) and in Mindanao (55%).Their results were summarized in Table 1 at the Pulse Asia site and reproduced below:
|PULSE ASIA SURVEY |
ON PEOPLE POWER
|People Power 1 |
|36 %||45 %||42 %||34 %||21 %||55 %||35 %||32 %|
|People Power 2 |
|10 %||17 %||9 %||10 %||6 %||16 %||10 %||8 %|
|People Power 3 |
GMA not ousted.
|8 %||8 %||9 %||6 %||6 %||6 %||8 %||7 %|
|"Others"||9 %||7 %||8 %||6 %||14 %||7 %||8 %||10 %|
|Did Not Favor Any |
People Power Rally
|42 %||35 %||34 %||50 %||55 %||28 %||42 %||46 %|
|TOTALS||105 %||112 %||102 %||106 %||102 %||112 %||103 %||103 %|
WHY DON'T THE COLUMNS ADD UP TO 100% This is because this Pulse Asia survey allowed respondents to make MULTIPLE ENTRIES, since indeed, many who participated in Edsa 1 also evidently participated in Edsa 2. But this makes for double counting those favoring the people power rallies to unseat Presidents. I don't like this survey design for that reason.
Pulse Asia described the data in the table above in bold type:
MANY Filipinos did not favor “People Power” exercises."
While this statement is certainly true, the data of Table 1 really supports an even stronger conclusion: When taken one people power event at a time, there was never a MAJORITY of Filipinos "favoring" that event. It is a little misleading in my opinion, for Pulse Asia to add up the percentages the way they did, coming to a conclusion that a "plurality" did not favor the People Power rallies.
I am also wondering about the category "Others" that was included in the list of choices for the respondents. Since the survey question was "Which of the following protests or "People Power" rallies that overthrew or tried to overthrow a president did you favor?" this can only refer to rallies trying to unseat Fidel Ramos, the only President who was not being unseated in People Powers 1, 2 or 3. Logically speaking, there shouldn't have been this category at all, and that these 9% of the respondents already indicated they did not favor People Power 1, 2 or 3 since they did not choose those options. In other words, it seems to me, the data in Table 1 indicates that an ABSOLUTE MAJORITY of51% (42% + 9%) did not favor ANY of the people power rallies as a means of ousting a President.
A QUESTION ABOUT THE SURVEY TARGET POPULATION: I could not tell from the Pulse Asia writeup how they dealt with the following problem. Doing a survey of this kind is perilous. The survey probes how people alive in 2005 feel about three past events in 1986, January, 2001 and May 2001, that are not so long ago they are settled matters of history, nor did the target population experienced them together. If the survey only used respondents who were at least 18 in 1986, that excludes an awful lot of the 80 million alive today (or 40 million of voting age).
POLLING AS A GENRE OF JOURNALISM: People should look at opinion pollsters like Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia as a kind of newspaper that reports on Public Opinion. It's just like the newspapers Business Day or the Wall Street Journal do for Business. Like newspapers, opinion pollsters can be highly professional and scientific in their data collection and other "objective" functions, but editorializing and opinon-making upon their own data is impossible to prevent. In fact, opinion pollsters get into that business, I think, because they want to distill the public's opinion and self-knowledge, much as other forms of Mass Media attempt to do, and be the one to do the telling of it. Opinion Pollsters like Mahar Mangahas and Felipe Miranda are essentially JOURNALISTS. But Opinion Polling, as an unacknowledged branch of the Mass Media, can just as easily practice Journalism as Propaganda, because you see, they have the public and even other journalists at a severe disadvantage because of the highly technical nature of their methodologies. The subtleties of mathematical statistics escape even educated and otherwise intelligent human beings, which explains why statistics is often accused of being the science for proving any proposition whatsoever.
Public Opinion Polling is a Genre of Journalism
Polling Bleg--Ponnuru's Puzzle
THE LEFT'S IDEOLOGICAL AND PROPAGANDA INVESTMENT IN PEOPLE POWER lies in the similarity to their own concept of URBAN LEGAL MASS STRUGGLE." In the ceaseless mythologizing of the people power concept, the Left and its allies in media and academe seem to be idealizing mass revolutionary movements as peaceful and powerful -- yet are not led by ELITES or TRAPOS. Yet the starkest conclusion one draws fromt he survey data -- whether you support "people power rallies" or not, is that they ARE the actions of some small minority -- dare I say elite, among the people. That was certainly the case in Edsa 2, which surprisingly tied Edsa 3 in favor from the public at 10% and 8% plus or minus 3%. Having left themselves out of the First Edsa, they want to coopt People Power for themselves, but only in name.