(Photo taken at Welbart Exhibit in the Philippines, 2008). These men are like the politicians during the campaign period, trying to market themselves to the public.
I’ve registered for the absentee voting last August and now that the election is near, I still don’t have my final list. Although it’s only one vote that’s coming from me, I reserve my right to be choosy about the candidates. The possibility of cheating in the canvassing of votes is beyond my control. I think that one of the better things that came up now is the availability of several means to get oriented with the salesmen (aka political candidates).
The survey results are tricky to the undecided and to those who are investing on candidates. Here’s from one of my current reads, Freakonomics:
In order to figure out the relationship between money and elections, it helps to consider the incentives at play in campaign finance. Let’s say you are the kind of person whom might contribute $1,000 to a candidate. Chances are you’ll give the money in one of two situations: a close race, in which you think the money will influence the outcome; or a campaign in which one candidate is a sure winner and you would like to bask in reflected glory or receive some future in-kind consideration. The one candidate you won’t contribute to is a sure loser. So front-runners and incumbents raise a lot of money than long shots. And what about spending that money? Incumbent and front-runners obviously have more cash, but they only spend a lot of it when they stand a legitimate chance of losing; otherwise, why dip into a war chest that might be more useful later on, when a more formidable opponent appears?
Now picture two candidates, one intrinsically appealing and the other not so. The appealing candidate raises much more money and wins easily. But was it the money that won him the votes, or was it his appeal that won the votes and the money?
That’s a crucial question but a very hard one to answer. Voter appeal, after all, isn’t very easy to quantify. How can it be measured?
It can’t, really – except in one special case. The key is to measure a candidate against… himself. That is, Candidate A today is likely to be similar to Candidate A two or four years hence. The same could be said for Candidate B. If only Candidate A ran against Candidate B in two consecutive elections but in each case spent different amounts of money. Then, with the candidates’ appeal more or less constant, we could measure the money’s impact.
Here’s the surprise: the amount of money spent by the candidates hardly matters at all. A winning candidate can cut his spending in half and lose only 1 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, a losing candidate who doubles his spending can expect to shift the vote in his favor by only that same 1 percent. What really matters to a political candidate is not how much you spend; what matters is who you are (The same could be said about parents). Some politicians are inherently attractive to voters and others simply aren’t, and no amount of money can do much about it.
What’s your basis of selection of candidates?
a.) The results of sales of 711 presidentiables’ cups?
c.) Campaign ads
d.) Things that help you make an informed choice
e.) None of the above/ Others