Marketing Aquino’s successor
Question: We read your column two Fridays ago on Vice President Jejomar Binay being the most likely president to succeed President Aquino. But suppose the Binay rating continues to go down, who among the half dozen likely successors that Peter Wallace analyzed in his recent Wallace Business Forum would come out as the strongest candidate?
We’re thinking of the most unlikely candidate, Senator Grace Poe. How can she be successfully marketed as P-Noy’s most suitable successor? What do you think of Mr. Wallace’s analysis of her chances?
ANSWER: Let me answer in light of:
— The 2 to 3 MRx columns I have written in the past on the subject of how to market P-Noy’s successor;
— What I understand about the Wallace Forum analysis of the “half dozen likely P-Noy successors;” and
— What has happened since the time I wrote the column on the likelihood that a rival candidate could overtake Binay as the strongest presidential candidate.
There were two previous columns where I diagnosed how to successfully market Tony Meloto and Mar Roxas as the next president.
Last Sept. 26, some readers asked me how Binay won as vice president in 2010 and how a rival could overtake his huge lead as the next president of the country.
I’d like to answer your question in light of what had happened on and after Sept. 26, when Binay started to face a series of corruption charges, which later led to a large 15-percentage-point fall in his rating.
So let me proceed to what the Wallace Forum has predicted about the seven presidential candidates: Vice President Binay, Secretary Mar Roxas, former President Joseph Estrada, Rehab czar Panfilo Lacson, Sen. Alan Cayetano, Sen. Grace Poe, and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago.
In terms of percent share of votes, according to the latest survey, Binay still leads with 31 percent. Mar Roxas is a far second with 13 percent, followed by Senator Santiago (11 percent), Senator Grace Poe (10 percent), and Joseph Estrada (1 percent).
I supposed that impressive 10 percent share of votes for Poe must be one reason that led you to focus your question on her.
The Wallace Forum said that Senator Poe could be a winnable candidate for vice president based on her being a top choice in a September survey.
But what’s working in her favor as a presidential candidate? According to the Wallace Forum, what’s working for her are the 5 areas of “strength:”
— She “topped the 2013 senatorial election;”
— She pushed the approval of the Freedom of Information bill in the Senate;”
— She carries the name of a “hugely popular late father;”
— She has the support from both the administration and the opposition parties; and
— She has “a clean image that’s likely to offset the ‘corrupt’ and ‘traditional politician’ image of VP Binay.”
In my earlier columns on the subject, I made my diagnosis on this issue of who would win a presidential race according to what we’ve learned about voter behavior. It’s voter behavior that must be considered first.
Voter behavior in electing a president may be determined by these two interacting forces: 60 to 70 percent by anong nagawa niya o kaya niyang gawin (what the candidate has done or is capable of doing); and 30 to 40 percent by kung anong klaseng tao siya o personalidad niya (what kind of a person he/she is, or personality he/she has).
For the sake of proceeding with this diagnosis, let us concede that, in the case of Senator Poe, topping a senatorial election is a factor that belongs more to the personality determinant than to the has-done/capable-of-doing factor. But we have to admit that it’s no strong factor. Secretary Roxas also topped the senatorial race but it was no help to his vice presidential candidacy.
Belonging to this same factor are two other perceived strengths, namely, having a popular father, and a clean, uncorrupted image. Her push for the approval of the Freedom of Information bill may be considered a has-done factor.
And having the support of both political parties is a “political machinery” factor, although in Senator Poe’s case, it’s only a mild variant of it. This political machinery factor is the second variable in the equation for winning a presidential election. I explained this factor in my Sept. 26th MRx column.
There is another voter behavior we must consider. That’s the reality that it is the mysterious and unpredictable “destiny” that ultimately determines whom the voters will vote as president. That was essentially what happened to Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Erap, GMA and even P-Noy. Destiny is mysterious and therefore unpredictable. Will destiny favor Sen. Grace Poe? Who knows?
Keep your questions coming. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.