’Voters less likely to shift choice of bets by this time’

With less than three weeks to go before the May 9 elections, there is a low possibility of voters switching preference at this point, the chief data scientist of PUBLiCUS Asia said.

“People are set, people have preferences and people have personalities,” said Dr. David Yap Jr. during Wednesday’s roundtable discussion hosted by the Philippine Press Institute.

“You just don’t come up to them and alter their entire opinions. These are things that you have to consider,” Yap said.

For Dr. Ronald Holmes, president of Pulse Asia Research Inc., there is a possibility that the numbers in the survey results may still change before election day.

“There is a possibility of change. You cannot rule out change because there are certain events that transpire that we cannot, in any way, predict that may eventually change people’s voting decision,” Holmes said.


“It’s hard to predict. Certain events may transpire from now until May 9. We don’t know whether those are events that would shift or reinforce the voting preferences,” he added.

Dr. Guido David, fellow of OCTA Research, said based strictly on what the surveys are showing, there is already a significant lead of the frontrunner in the presidential race.

“But reality can sometimes bring surprises. What we are saying is just go out and vote who your candidate is based on platform and personal belief, and we’ll see what happens on May 9,” said David.

“These studies we do—academic studies—are mainly used to estimate what the preferences are and we’re not trying to make predictions,” he added.

Yap, amid accusations that surveys are “polluted,” said it is up to the people to interpret their results.

“I would like to disagree with the notion that statisticians are soothsayers or fortune tellers. When you consider statistical predictions, even the most advanced method of predictions, are subject to criticism. For the very simple reason that those predictions are based on specific sets of assumptions, the moment that these assumptions are tweaked, those predictions will no longer hold,” he said.

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