She has arrived late in the day and perorates about the immorality of the whole enterprise. But where was she when Joc Joc, Raul and Norberto Gonzales were making the government bureaucracy look like a feast of fools and a den of thieves. Where was her genuine outrage? Still, it is a welcome surprise that Winnie's anger is real. For someone to cry karma, this train must have hit a raw nerve in Winnie. And as they say in Filipino: "huli man daw...[Better late than never...]"Meanwhile, John Nery writing in Solita No More at the Newsstand today, has a different take on Ms. Monsod's apparent change of spirit--
"Where does the political center lie? I'm asked infrequently. Sometimes, depending on my mood, I answer: The center is where Winnie Monsod is."UPDATE: Did Pulse Asia Misinterpret its own data? Winnie Monsod also mentions in her column today the March 2006 Pulse Asia Survey on Chacha, in which the headline is that 43% support chacha while 48% "do not."
But lets look at the raw data instead of the Media Release wrapper: Pulse Asia, Inc. reports on a Question that it asked of 1200 adult voters during its March, 2006 National Survey with the raw data breakdown in the following Table:
Table 3 Whether It Is Right to Amend the Present Constitution Now or Not (March 2005, Oct. 2005 and March 2006)
Question #176: Sa inyong palagay, tama ba na baguhin ang Konstitution sa ngayon? (In your opinion, is it right to change the Constitution now?)
Pulse Asia gave its respondents exactly four possible answers to choose from in the survey: (The three percentage numbers that follow below are the nationwide responses from March 2005, October 2005 and March 2006.)
Choice of Answers:
(1) YES the Constitution should be amended now. (29% ... 36% ... 43%)
(2) NO, the Constitution should not be amended now but it may be amended at some time in the future.(27% ... 35% ... 24%)
(3) NO, the Constitution should not be amended now nor any other time. (28% ... 20% ... 24%)
(4) Don't know or can't say.(16% ... 8% ... 9%)
There is something fishy about this question because of the allowed answers listed by the pollster. Notice that there are two NO categories here. But consider a slightly different but closely related question:
What percentage of Filipinos are in favor of amending the Constitution?
According to Table 3 it would appear as if a strong majority of Filipinos -- two-thirds or 67% of them in fact -- are in favor of Charter Change now or in the future, while a shrinking minority of 24% say No, not ever. Yet, the data also shows that since March 2005, the fraction of the adult voters who are for changing the Charter NOW has been on an increasing trend from 29% to 43%, a sizeable change.
The reason there is this ambiguity in the possible and plausible interpretations of the same data set lies in bad survey question design by Pulse Asia. There are, as one can see by inspection, actually two questions being asked, but only one answer allowed.
I'm not personally for Charter Change under the present dispensation, but if the data was collectedprofessionally, the correct scientific conclusion cannot be ignored -- both of them!
Public Opinion Polling As A Genre of Journalism
Pulse Asia Survey on People Power
Polling Bleg -- Ponnuru's Puzzle