Notes on the Methodology of the NCR COVID-19 Survey

08 Apr

Notes on the Methodology of the NCR COVID-19 Survey

(Excerpt of remarks delivered by Mr. Aureli Sinsuat, PUBLiCUS Executive Director, during the April 8, 2020 NCR COVID-19 Survey Virtual Presser)

PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. is committed to contributing our share to the fight against COVID-19. As a political consultancy and strategic research firm, our contribution comes in the form of gathering and analyzing data to provide actionable information to government officials, policy-makers, and other stakeholders – empowering them to put into action responsive, data-based strategies to combat this unpredictable pandemic.

Providing actionable information on public opinion about COVID-19 is one contribution PUBLiCUS can make through our in-house strategic research arm, VOX Opinion Research, which has been conducting independent public opinion research since 2007.

However, with strict lockdowns in place throughout Luzon, it is highly impractical and unsafe to conduct the usual face-to-face random sampling type survey that has been the standard in the Philippine polling industry for decades.

Faced with such a unique challenge which has rendered our usual methods inoperable, PUBLiCUS has adapted a survey method we previously tested in 2017 – the Online Panel.

Although they are not commonly used in the Philippines for political surveys, online panels are an established tool of political research in the United States and other countries. In fact, a 2019 article by Scott Keeter – a senior survey adviser to the renowned Pew Research justify; in the United States – noted that their American Trends Panel “was the main data source for most of the justify;’s reports on U.S. political and social attitudes and behavior in 2018”.

What is an Online Panel? It is a sample of persons who have been recruited online to complete surveys through a digital platform. Panelists receive some form of compensation or incentive from the panel provider for completing surveys.

Reputable online panels are comprised of people with different backgrounds and demographic characteristics. This diversity, in turn, allows for highly customizable samples guided by specific parameters.

The online panel for this survey was provided by Lightspeed Research/Kantar through their Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore. Lightspeed has been providing research panels to companies for market and social research since 1996, including the panel for our 2017 PAHAYAG NCR survey.

Lightspeed’s pool of 100,000 potential Philippine panelists was profiled and pre-screened based on the set criteria of the survey. In this case, the criteria PUBLiCUS set was for Filipino respondents between the ages of 18 and 70 residing in Metro Manila. To make our sample more representative of the actual Metro Manila population, we set specific quotas for panelists from each city proportionate to official population data.

The raw data was then sent unaltered to PUBLiCUS and was cleaned and analyzed by VOX Opinion Research.

The demographic information of our panel of respondents indicate a diverse and well-balanced sample in terms of age, income group, and residence, given the existing constraints of polling operations during the ECQ. As such, we are confident that the results of our survey provide a reliable snapshot of the opinion of Metro Manila residents on COVID-19 issues using an established sampling method of the sophisticated American political polling industry.