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State of Play: Merger and Acquisition

The recent Pink Surge is peaking and the timing is very propitious. With Ferdinand Marcos Jr (BBM) absent from the debates, and using the social data, AutoPolitic is updating its state of play prognostications.

BBM’s debate absence, and its attendant social media data, show that BBM’s strategy of insular communication to his followers is an effective strategy given the candidate’s inherited baggage and personal communication style. The very low negativity heaped on Leni during the COMELEC debate shows that BBM supporters, typical of a cult of personality, are only interested when BBM shows up. This also means Leni Robredo’s (Leni) message doesn’t reach - much less persuade the BBM voters. So all Leni-BBM crossfires are interesting to watch but won’t move the needle.

Leni’’s obvious path forward is to convince the other presidential candidates to join forces. She can acquire two or more of the presidential candidates' following and endorsement through either a deal or a strong permissive message, or both.

Of the three remainders, Senator Lacson and Mayor Isko are the two top choices. Senator Panfilo Lacson has strong grassroot capacity while Isko Moreno has dominant NCR support. Both enhance LP’s ground operation, and frees Leni to hit the more far-flung areas, while Mayor Isko’s proven ability to draw BBM ‘soft’ voters continues to sap the BBM camp.

For Leni to become the president, and depending on which poll you read, she’ll need a minimum of two out of three presidential candidates' support. If she gets two, and the third one stays out of alliance, then the final vote tally is up to static chances. However, if the third candidate throws in his towel with BBM, all these struggles would be for nothing.

BBM peaked early and has been losing his ‘soft’ followers. On the other side, Leni’s surge is well-timed, nearly textbook, and her success in mobilizing her core will bring in more campaign support from big business and the rest of the swing voters, however few there are left.

The challenge is now consolidation. No one is more ignorant of the Philippines political dynastic entanglements than I, so the followings are uninformed personal speculation filled with a large dosage of non willful ignorance.

I believe Leni can work with Senator Lacson by adopting much of his plan for the Philippines, and promising him a secretariat to carry about those agendas most dear to his heart.

For Isko, the promise would be to endorse him for the next presidential run, while giving Manila preferential resource treatment like President Duterte did for Mindanao.

It is also possible for Leni to induce Pacman through a high-visibility position that caters to Pacman’s sense of destiny. On the flipside, BBM could block Lenis moves by simply persuading and funding any one of the candidates to refuse cooperation with Leni and keep those votes effectively off the decision market.

For two of the candidates, that’s a path they are already on. Politic is the art of the possible, and in the last month of the campaigning, it is easy to believe in the spectacle of the eyes, and miss out on the cold reality of election engineering. While our Social Data shows Leni is leading online, and most of the platform shows also, AutoPolitic believes the race is too early to call at this point.

The American Humorist Robert Orben once wrote, “Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?” We would laugh if it wasn’t so tragically true.



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