The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) recently released a breakdown of the demographics for the 2022 elections. Today, we look at those numbers and try to make insights on the factors that will drive the elections.
First, there are 65.72 million registered voters. This represents a growth of 11.36 million or 20.89% over the 54.36 million registered voters in 2016. It also represents a growth of 2.08 million or 3.26% over the registered voters of 2022.
In all post-EDSA elections, turnout tends to range around 75 to 80%. Given this average, we can expect the actual voting population on election day to be within the range of 49.29 to 52.57 million. The winning threshold for post-EDSA Presidents is around 40%. And so, in a bit of statistical poetry, the winning candidate may need 20 to 22 million votes (rounded up) to win the 2022 elections.
Where will these votes come from? In terms of the three major island groups: Luzon will have 55.68 million votes or 36.59%; Visayas will have 13.39 million, or 20.38; and Mindanao will have 15.73 million or 23.93%. Luzon has a particularly large share not only because of its land mass, but also due to the de facto “Greater Capital Region”: NCR, Region 3 and R4A. These three regions account for 23.78 million or around 36.19% of the whole electorate.
Of particular interest in 2022 is the role of Mindanao. In 2016, the island group served as a launching pad for Rodrigo Duterte- a kind of “mega-bailiwick” that drew voters from beyond his home base of the Davao Region. Speculation is rampant on whether the President will endorse a candidate, considering that this is the first election that the dominant party (PDP-LABAN) will not be fielding its own candidate. To add to the speculation, the President’s own daughter- Davao City Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte- is the running mate of candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
In terms of gender, female voters outnumber their male counterparts, 33.64 million to 32.07 million. This continues a trend observed since the 2004 Presidential elections: the women in the electorate have steadily outpaced the men. However, gender has yet to play a deciding factor in Presidential elections. However, a paper by Pulse Asia President Dr. Ronald Holmes noted that “There were no significant variances in voting support based on gender and age”.
Finally, there is the age factor: voters aged 18 to 41 account for 56.31% of the total electorate. The “youth vote”- 18 to 31- is part of that demographic group, and they are often hailed as the “hope” of every election. However, Ronnie Holmes again notes that “Preferences among age groups tended to shift from one survey to another in 2016.
Unfortunately, the COMELEC data is not disaggregated by economic class. Surveys tend to put Class D and E at around 85% of the voting population- or around 55.86 million possible voters in 2022. But it seems that populism is not the winning flavor of this year’s election, compared to the election of Joseph “Erap” Estrada in 1998 and Rodrigo Duterte in 2022.
The conclusion? The information which can be culled from the COMELEC data- including well-informed guesstimates- can provide insights on the shape of the voting market. But it is not a crystal ball for the outcome. That will require a deep and holistic market analysis using all the available tools.