Surveys, surveys and more surveys

Donald Borja Sevilla Bohol Tribune

I am running for public office this coming May 2016 election, and in line with election rules and guidelines, I will be taking leave from my column effective March 21, prior to the start of the local campaign period on the 25th. Sharing thoughts on a wide range of subjects, waking up in the middle of the night to wrack one’s brains, and beating deadlines will be sorely missed. For nearly two years these have become routine, and today marks the first of my last three articles. It has been an honor to share insights and express opinions through the written medium.

Surveys, surveys and more surveys

While the methods may be scientific, the surveyed audience could be targeted. But since when can a minuscule part be reflective of the whole picture? A lot of experts may disagree but common sense tells us that surveys can be manipulated to condition the minds of the people. Oh boy, it’s more fun in the Philippines!

The real survey exists in the hearts and minds of the people from across a broad spectrum of society, who can express freely what they truly want without fear. Many want change but cower for fear of backlash from the ruling powers. But walk around, ask around in animated, unguarded conversation and you can truly feel the people’s pulse.

Politics is such that image and perception matter. Public opinion can be shaped and molded by a clever and selective use of information and data. Constant bombardment of propaganda can shape truth or weave lies and herein lurk the dangers. But let us not forget that surveys and image building are big business that grow even bigger when elections come.

Then again we do not wish to undermine the science behind the exercise. Although surveys serve as a benchmark it primarily acts to guide candidates onto a potential win. That is why it becomes important that many wanting to be chosen work hard to top it. A candidate’s chances of winning are tied to a strong performance at surveys such that a poor showing could be disheartening. At this day and age of readily available information, a good showing could predict victory.

As it is, we are ultimately left to our own discernment of choices. We can choose based on our biases and preferences or we can choose unselfishly in consideration of our children’s future. Whichever way, we choose it must be made intelligently and with good purpose.

When electing leaders, let us survey our children’s faces and feel their hearts. Let us listen intently to their needs and see the relevance of our choices to their lives. We must not allow ourselves to be swayed by popularity let alone be carried away by the bandwagon effect. Our choices must be able to stand scrutiny beyond any scientific polling entity.

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