AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR
By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star
When Pulse Asia released last March 20 its February 26 to March 9 nationwide poll on public perception regarding the on-going impeachment trial of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice (CJ) Renato Corona, Presiding Officer Juan Ponce Enrile (JPE) dismissed its impact on the jurors, even alleging that it was a ‘survey’ that condemned Jesus Christ to be crucified. JPE could not have been more wrong.
On the contrary, if Judea Governor Pontius Pilate had conducted a scientific survey like those done by Pulse Asia (and SWS), then the New Testament might have been written differently. The viva voce type of selection that Pilate conducted, when the crowd was made to choose between Christ and the criminal Barabbas, wasn’t based on a truly representative sample that reflected the cross section of Jerusalem folks. The Pharisees, Christ’s biggest enemies, fielded a “hakot” (planted partisans) crowd that was complemented by the followers of Barabbas.
The Jerusalem mob was like a sample of 80 percent communists and 20 percent pro-democracy Filipinos. Given a choice between communism and democracy, the communists would naturally drown out the pro-democracy folks. However, as we know from experience, we Filipinos aren’t disposed to accepting communism. Our disdain for communism was so intense that Dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos thought he could win in the February 1986 Snap Presidential Election by tagging Cory Aquino a communist. Few ever believed Marcos that Cory was a communist.
The crucifixion was an all-Pharisees show. They wanted Christ crucified after reaching the conclusion that Christ threatened their power base with what He was teaching. They panicked when they saw the big crowds that Jesus was attracting, the last of which was His entry to Jerusalem on what we now celebrate as Palm Sunday. The Pharisees had to rig the viva voce and injected into the crowd many of their minions.
Many use the Jerusalem crowd as basis for saying that the mob is fickle, citing how Christ had a triumphal entry into Jerusalem and, in a matter of days, He was condemned to be crucified. Not quite, really. The crowd that welcomed Jesus was not the same crowd that asked Pilate to free Barabbas and crucify Jesus. In that era, there were no mobile phones, mass media, much less telephones. It was impossible for the Jerusalem crowd to have changed their tune overnight from hailing the Messiah to crucifying the blasphemer, as what Christ was accused of by the Pharisees. There was also no incident or event between Palm Sunday and Good Friday to account for the dramatic shift in Jerusalem public opinion.
If there was no crucifixion, that would have created major complications in the writing and propagation of the Jesus Christ story. There could not have been a resurrection too if Christ was not crucified.
JPE was wrong to compare a Pulse Asia survey with the pro-Pharisees crowd that clamored for Christ to be crucified. First of all, the viva voce selection was conducted with a biased and polluted sample. Second, viva voce itself isn’t reliable. A hundred loud voiced and strategically positioned men would have easily drowned out the voices of two hundred women, unless, of course, these are two hundred nagging housewives. A Pulse Asia (and SWS) survey is conducted with a scientifically determined sample that truly represents the sentiments of people during a particular period.
Your Chair Wrecker has long been involved in the making of surveys, dating back to my years in advertising and politics. We commissioned the survey firms, Mercy Abad a favorite service contractor. We do not undertake the actual survey. Most, if not all, major marketing firms conduct market and consumer surveys to guide their strategy formulation and decision-making process. A market survey tells you how many are disposed to buy a certain product, where they are located, when they’re inclined to buy the product and so forth. A consumer survey tells you the personality or psychographics of your target market and is often a priceless guide to determining advertising strategy and brand positioning.
It’s important that we know who are the reliable survey firms because there are those who operate bogus surveys in order to influence public opinion. Your Chair Wrecker remembers one such suspicious poll that was conducted towards the last phase of the 1998 presidential election campaign, an election that Joseph “Erap” Estrada won with a big margin. All reliable surveys predicted the Estrada victory except one that concluded that then Speaker Joe de Venecia would win the presidency. That survey became a comic relief in political circles.
As far back as your Chair Wrecker can remember, the SWS and later, the Pulse Asia, surveys were generally correct in their election forecasts. The differences happen in tightly contested races where a last minute shift went undetected. There is reason to doubt those who are quick to denounce SWS and Pulse Asia surveys, especially if they happen to be election losers. The major surprises, more often than not, can be traced to cheating, especially wholesale cheating.
In the May 2010 presidential elections, both Pulse Asia and the SWS predicted the national results quite accurately. The percentages of winners, presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino and vice presidential candidate Jojo Binay, were very similar to the last poll conducted by Pulse Asia and SWS. The surveys also reflected the drop of Manny Villar from a close second to third in the presidential race, also the last minute victory of Jojo Binay over Mar Roxas. The old cheating operations didn’t have time and the technology to rig the 2010 elections.
Pulse Asia and the SWS provide us a basis for checking if clean elections had been conducted. The Pulse Asia and SWS surveys may not qualify as evidence to prove election cheating but their track record of accuracy gives us a starting point for questioning the results and conducting an investigation.
Shakespeare: Madness in great ones must never unwatched go.
Chair Wrecker email and website: email@example.com and www.chairwrecker.com