July 7, 2022

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Surveys and the changing means of reaching voters

2 min read

In mid-March 2022, there was an uproar of disbelief and incredulity across social media over survey results showing presidential candidate Marcos Jr. leading with a 60% preference rating. How can that be, they asked, when the real predominant voting preference can be seen in the high turnouts, remarkable energy, and spirited volunteerism in the “pink” rallies? The Digital Public Pulse — conducted by UP Diliman researchers — may have some answers. Findings of the project’s first phase, done from May to October 2021, have already been released. Second phase results will be released later in April, according to Assistant Professor Fatima Gaw of UP Diliman’s Department of Communication Research.

The research, warn the authors, is not representative of the population and is “not a dipstick of public opinion.” They monitored a diverse set of actors — candidates, leaders, parties, civic organizations, political influencers, and individuals — and how they are shaping the election’s digital landscape through YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. They found that:

• The political groundwork for the 2022 Philippine elections has been operating since 2016 and has now matured to run massive but insidious campaigns, with “below-the-radar” anti-democratic actors hijacking the political discourse on social media.

• From May-October 2021, Marcos Jr. rose in influence and expanded reach across audiences through the algorithmic cultivation of YouTube communities, i.e., the rise of hyper-partisan political channels that guised their content as “news,” launched “attack” campaigns, and distorted political popularity.

• On Twitter, obscure accounts are most influential in being popular and noisy while news media have become only secondary in influence. Marcos Jr.’s Twitter interaction network grew from having no distinct cluster in the first quarter to overtaking Leni Robredo’s in the second quarter.

• On Facebook, Robredo-related groups are…

Neil

2022-04-03 05:05:11

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