I have two crystal balls. It’s NOT what you think, silly. :) One sits on my desk at home and another at a makeshift table/desk I use at the beach. I do not believe you can gaze into a crystal ball and see the future, so I am not sure what attracted me to them in the first place. Perhaps they are more a reminder that your future is really primarily up to you. I firmly believe you can and should control more of your own destiny, rather than waiting for it to just happen, or worse, blaming someone else for your misfortune. Don’t get me wrong, the concept of others (living, dead or spiritual) laying out various paths, or opportunities, or choices for you is something I can totally grasp… But as I get older and older, I realize it is more about the DECISIONS one makes (or doesn’t make) in life that really shapes your destiny. What educational credentials you seek (assuming you had a choice), family and friendships, how well to apply one’s self at work or play, choice of career(s), where to anchor your moral compass, how you deal with life, marriage, kids, divorce, death, etc. are the essential building blocks of the journey one takes in the 75 odd years average human lifespan these days. It is my PERSONAL observation that many folks seem to make decisions without seeking sufficient data nor do they analyze that data logically to reach informed conclusions. Many folks seem to rely on gut feel (and if you have been right 90% of the time, why not?), on the opinion of others, on conventional “wisdom” or common sense which isn’t common, or whatever else suits them. This approach is not wrong, it’s just a different way of looking at things. In the same way that these three photos of one crystal ball reflect different images…
It does drive me a little batty when folks make assertions to me (verbally, through comments or emails) that don’t seem to be anchored on fact and reasonable amounts of analysis. Several readers have emailed me to question my mention and “reliance” on opinion polls for the Presidential elections to be held tomorrow. So here are some of my PERSONAL views on the opinion polls, and for fun, my own predictions for the outcomes of tomorrow’s elections, ASSUMING no massive fraud takes place. Opinion polls are used extensively in many countries. They are used to determine whether you would prefer white or light blue toothpaste, diet or regular soda, whether a controversial law has enough public support, or how many people are likely to vote for a particular candidate. And all these polls are based on what most average folks deem to be incredibly small samples of say 2-3,000 people out of populations of several tens of millions. But if done well (or scientifically), polls can and often DO predict the actual pulse of the population, given a statistically determined margin of error. So opinion polls are simply a tool, and its particularly interesting to see if what was predicted does in fact pan out in reality (e.g., elections for public officials). As for making one’s choice(s) of candidates, and whether polls influence your choice(s), that is another topic altogether. For the purposes of this post, I am assuming the vast majority of marketmanila readers have brains of their own and will pick their candidates as they see fit, whether or not they take opinion polls into account…
Okay, to the specific polls that I mentioned in previous posts, SWS and Pulse Asia. If readers had bothered to do some BASIC research, and read this interesting paper “The Challenge of Election Surveys: SWS Experience in the Philippines” presented at a forum in Cairo last November (please google, I don’t know how to link a PDF file), among other sources, then they would have known that based on SWS final surveys done roughly a week before the last three Presidential elections in 1992, 1998 and 2004, they accurately predicted the winner for President in ALL three elections (Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo). And they predicted the winners for ALL three Vice-Presidential candidates (Estrada, Arroyo, De Castro) as well. It’s NOT easy to guess the results of a coin toss 6 times in a row, so there must be more substance to these pollsters than the naysayers seem willing to believe. As for whether the polls are impartial, owned by distant relations of candidates, then how would you explain the wide range of winners they predicted in the past? From Ramos, to Estrada to Arroyo and now to Aquino, are we really to believe the polls were manipulated somehow by all these disparate candidates? Really now. So the polls aren’t perfect, and certainly leave room for error, and they jumped by as much as 8-9% up or down for some candidates in the final week of the campaign, but they still resulted in accurate predictions of the ultimate winners. As for the senators (with over 60 running and vying for 12 slots) the numbers are far more complicated, but still the polls called the TOP 8-9 candidates with very good accuracy in the last 3 elections, and understandably left wiggle room for the final 3-4 candidates who were statistically much closer in numbers than the TOP 9. So those readers who have doubts, you MAY CERTAINLY refuse to accept opinion polls as a barometer of public opinion, but the numbers wouldn’t logically support your position. And again, I agree there are EXCEPTIONS, and occasional statistical surprises, but these instances are less common than many would hope. And yes, SWS bases their predictions based on just 2-3,000 people polled, and extrapolates this data to tens of millions of the voting population.
Knowing what I know now, the published opinion polls of SWS and Pulse Asia, the teeny tiny predominantly “A” audience poll results on marketmanila.com, and my own PERSONAL BEST GUESSES, let me estimate where I think the results will end up tomorrow. If I am totally wrong, so be it, and I promise never to work for a polling company in the future. I have never done this before, so it’s simply a “game” I pursue purely for amusement purposes. I post my wild predictions this evening not to attempt to sway your vote one way or the other, more as a personal challenge to see just how close or far off my guesses will turn out…
PRESIDENT: Noynoy Aquino by landslide (greater than 15% points over next candidate)
1. Noy Aquino – Range: 41-46%
2. Erap Estrada – Range: 20-25%
3. Manny Villar – Range: 17-22%
4. Gibo Teodoro – Range: 11-16%
VICE-PRESIDENT: Mar Roxas in a close contest, but since I am biased and applying some “positive energy” his way, I will say win by 5% or more :)
1. Mar Roxas – Range: 40-45%
2. Jojo Binay – Range: 37-42%
3. Loren Legarda – Range: 14-19%
VOTER PARTICIPATION RATE – Range: 73-78%, less than the often quoted 80% participation rate…
PLEASE REMEMBER TO VOTE TOMORROW!!!
Back to food programming soon… including two incredibly LENGTHY and MEATY liempo (pork belly) posts… :)