How Voters Combine Candidates on the Ballot: The Case of the Philippine Senatorial Elections


In the Philippines, senators are nationally elected officials, and citizens vote for 12 candidates every three years. The country’s electoral features include a weak party system, a low-information environment for voters, and a history of political dynasty rule and preponderance of media celebrities in elected political offices. The article first applies cluster analysis on exit poll data for the 2010 Senatorial Election and then examines predictors of Senatorial candidate sets. Hypotheses are proposed based on theories and evidence that name recall has important consequences in voter decision-making under low information circumstances, and that media celebrities and members of political dynasties benefit from the name recall vote. Findings support predictions that voters put media celebrities and members of national political dynasties together often on a ballot and that the voters who are likely to operate with little information are more likely to vote for these candidates. These are voters with low education and low income, who live in rural areas, and who exhibit high abstention rates.

International Journal of Public Opinion Research