HomeLayagvol. 1 no. 1 (1996)

1995 Pre-Election Surveys: A Retrospective View of the Survey Method

Ma. Angeles Guanzon-lapeña

Discipline: Social Science



Surveys and opinion polling have virtually come of age in the Filipino's social and political life. Conducted on a regular basis, opinion polling is "only a decade old in the Philippines, compared to six decades old in the US" (Mangahas, 1994), and already being regularly sourced by all parties interested in getting socio-economic and political feedback. Ever since the Social Weather Stations (SWS), a leading social research institution, and the Ateneo de Manila University, started publishing their social survey results in 1988, a less "casual empiricism" in interpreting Philippine reality and generating paradigms on Philippine society has been exhorted (Mangahas, 1994).


The power of the truly professionally-done survey studies cannot be underestimated. Far-reaching implications of the various national and local surveys done can be seen in the scope and scientific rigor of the research designs used in these types of studies. For instance, the SWS surveys from the mid-1980s to the present have reported a wide range of findings-- on the Filipino character, Filipino attitudes towards America, and political and economic sentiments of Filipinos (Mangahas, 1994). Ready access to the SWS findings is possible, considering that this organization regularly publishes bulletins and occasional papers. The primer of the Social Weather Stations (1995) lists Social Weather Bulletin titles (fortnightly SWS publications which present and analyze the SWS survey data): 22 published in 1988, 23 in 1989, 21 in 1990, 24 in 1991, 22 in 1992,21 in 1993, and 16 in 1994. In addition, 72 SWS Occasional Papers (discussion papers written by SWS Fellows on various topics, e.g., economic indicators, human resources, land reform, the military, politics, poverty and equity, credit, social inequality, religion, children, political elites, among others) are listed as available in this same primer.