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Comparative Study on Voter Preference of Political Parties Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need

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Political parties play an important role to every local, national, and even in school-based elections, such as in student councils. The establishment of political parties helped shape voter preference that accords to the social considerations and social benefits of the student body. For the past two (2) academic years (A.Y.), there has been a commonality of the winning participants coming from the same political party. The ALAB party is known to be the first political party established in the San Beda University-Manila Senior High School (SHS). From the seemingly overwhelming preference of the student body towards ALAB, the researchers conducted a study comparing voter preferences towards the different political parties of the elections in A.Y. 2018-2020, through the use of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the Rational Choice Theory of Voter Turnout as basis for the analysis and interpretation of the acquired data. The results of the study displayed the evident voter preference of ALAB against other competitors, wherein the motivating need driving voter preference towards these parties turned out to fall under the “physiological” aspect, be it chosen consciously or unconsciously. Moreover, ALAB among other political parties from the A.Y. 2018-2020 was perceived to embody this need the most.

Background of the Study

Political parties play an important role in the electoral system, wherein different candidates form together an alliance known as a “political party;” promoting a common cause, belief, and ideology for the community they are bound to serve in. In view of this, several definitions of “political party” have been recorded, given the use of political parties as a topic by several distinguished studies. Quimpo (2007) states that an organized group of individuals with common ideology, political ideas, and platform of government is what a political party is, as defined by the country’s own “omnibus election code.” On the other hand, Sta. Ana III (2019) defined political parties as an organization bonded together under a “common vision, values, program and public policies” with the goal of achieving political power on a fair election. Moreover, Macaraeg (2019) states that proper programs and platforms are created between politicians with common ideologies helping each political candidate advance their cause and jump-start their political campaigns.

However, Rocamora (as stated in Quimpo, 2007) says that political parties in the Philippines are built on personalities as dominated by the country’s political-economic elites more than serving with a common purpose. Likewise, he further elucidates that the stances of varying political parties became indistinguishable from each other, thus eliminating the supposedly “unique platforms” or ideologies of varying parties. Consequently, political parties in the Philippines are also viewed with a weak membership wherein they are often only heard at times of elections (Quimpo, 2007).

In San Beda University-Manila Senior High School, the student body is empowered through its own ‘Student Council.’ Elections are held at the start of every academic year (A.Y.) to determine who gets to sit in the Senior High School Student Council, according to the Senior High School Commission on Elections (SHS-COMELEC). In A.Y. 2018-2019, three (3) political parties contested some, if not all, of the seats available in the Student Council (SC). According to the SHS-COMELEC, these three (3) political parties are the following: ALAB Party, headed by Allesandra Leine Sarangaya; GILAS Party, headed by April Angelica Filipino; and KAAGAPAY Party, headed by Daud Kim Anthony So. All of the party leaders were Grade 12 students at the time of the elections and were all candidates for SC President.

ALAB serves as the oldest political party in the department and traces its founding year to 2017. Allesandra Leine Sarangaya, known colloquially as “Lessa,” then a Grade 11 student, served as a founding member of the political party, along with Grade 12 students namely: Deane Nepomuceno, Nico Ponce, and Zion Licup. Sarangaya states that the ideology that ALAB espouses is their so-called “Students’ and People’s Rights and Welfare” or SPRAW. She characterized this their party as an advocate of “grounded grassroots empowerment, progressive discourse, advocacy-driven radical leadership and on social justice.” To justify this characterization of ALAB’s ideology, Sarangaya enumerated their political party’s list of platforms. These platforms include the following: a.) to initiate an institutional “Magna Carta,” b.) to add additional committees in the student council sub-committees, c.) a general assembly every quarter of the academic year (A.Y.) to discuss students’ grievances and opinions, d.) a percentage of the “student development fund” exclusive for the student-athletes of the Senior High School, e.) the proper orientation and implementation of school’s “merit and demerit” system, f.) to initiate a request for the installation of “bidets” in the comfort rooms, g.) the promotion of a “gender-friendly” environment, h.) no more deadlines before exams, i.) a “Fun Run for a Cause” in line with a partnership with the institutional “Community Involvement Center,” j.) the creation of a “Senior High School Fair,” k.) the proposal of a “student lounge,” l.) the empowerment of clubs and organizations, m.) an increase of “social consciousness” through seminars, n.) the strict monitoring of “self-bussing policy,” and o.) espousing the “Live Pure Movement.” ALAB has contested all three (3) of the SHS elections that have taken place since 2017. As of 2019, the political party led by Joshua Brozoto, a Grade 12 student, who also served as the SC President for A.Y. 2019-2020.

Eventually, ALAB ceased its monopoly on the SHS SC elections due to the entry of two (2) other political players. KAAGAPAY, led by Daud Kim Anthony So, entered the field with five (5) candidates for the SC elections. Calvin Joshua Salas, who ran as the political party’s candidate for Grade 11 Representative, states that KAAGAPAY was founded by So to “integrate student-centered” policies. “Class de-stress” sessions, extended or additional rest day for students, the suggestion of creating student lounges, and more frequent guidance sessions were the platforms cited by Salas as ‘student-centered.’ KAAGAPAY now ceases to exist, having dissolved itself immediately after the 2018 SC elections.

The other political party that challenged ALAB in the 2018 SC elections was the GILAS political party. Founded in 2018 by its leader and candidate for SC President April Angelica Filipino, GILAS espoused ‘radical centrism’ as the political party’s main ideology, calling for platforms that in spite of it being ‘idealistic,’ will still be ‘pragmatic’ and ‘realistic.’ To oppose ALAB’s SPRAW advocacy, Filipino says that under her leadership, the political party branded its own platforms as guided by the concept of “4U,” which she says stands for “Uncaged, Unity, Unshakable and Ubiquity.” Like KAAGAPAY, GILAS has since been dissolved right after the end of the 2018 SC elections as well.

In the SC elections for the A.Y. 2019-2020, a political party solely composed of Grade 11 students of the said school year contested the only other party in the SHS, ALAB. The new political party, SIMULA, was led by its candidate for SC Auditor, Maria Angela Meneses. The political party started after the SHS-COMELEC barred the entry of the National Youth and Progressive Democrats (NYPD) political party in the San Beda College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) into the SHS elections. The members of the political party then rebranded itself as “SIMULA” and contested five (5) seats in the Student Council. Meneses says that the party embodies the principle of “serving the student body” through its platforms such as “Transparency in Funds” and “Honesty Store.” Despite their novelty, the political party failed to succeed in the A.Y. 2019-2020 SC elections.

Statement of the Problem

This paper aims to compare voter preference in choosing political parties during the two (2) most recent elections in the San Beda University Manila Senior High School Student Council (SHS SC) namely: A.Y. 2018-2019 and A.Y. 2019-2020. The researchers shall also seek to determine if Abraham Maslow’s five (5) Hierarchy of Needs is suited in measuring voter preference. Accordingly, the following questions shall be answered in the course of this study:

  1. What are the attitudes of respondents towards Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a measurement of voter preference?
    1. Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which of the five (5) needs is most important in choosing a political party?
  2. Which of the four (4) SHS political parties was perceived to possess the prevalent need the most?
  3. Are there noticeable similarities and evident differences in voter preference of political parties in the A.Y. 2018-2019 and A.Y. 2019-2020 SHS SC Elections?

Hypothesis

The researchers hypothesize that there is no relationship between voter preference of political parties in the A.Y. 2018-2019 and A.Y. 2019-2020 SHS SC elections.

Scope and Delimitation

The study shall determine the viability of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a measurement of voter preference and subsequently compare the preference of voters during the San Beda University Manila SHS SC elections of A.Y. 2018-2019 and A.Y. 2019-2020. Moreover, the study is limited only to the political parties who campaigned during the said two (2) SHS SC elections. Political parties that did not contest the aforementioned elections are not part of this study. Furthermore, this paper shall only cover students who are Grade 12 students of San Beda University Manila in A.Y. 2019-2020 and were also Grade 11 students of the said university in A.Y. 2018-2019. Moreover, due to the unavailability of information and data on the part of the SHS-COMELEC and Genyo E-Leaning, the exact figures of the election results were only stipulated in percent (5).

Significance of the Study

Political parties are a union of different persons with their common goals, visions, and ideas to impose upon the electorate, by campaigning in elections as one group with one advocacy and ideology. This paper aims to determine the similarities and differences between voter preference of political parties in A.Y. 2018-2020 SHS SC elections in San Beda University-Manila. Furthermore, this study shall benefit the following personalities:

The student-body. As the discerning body, the students shall benefit from this study for they will know how voters such as they, tend to tilt when it comes to choosing candidates based on their affiliation to a specific political party.

Possible candidates for Student Council elections. Students who may ultimately decide to run for a position in the student council may benefit from this research for they shall garner considerable knowledge as to how their chances of winning is related to their affiliation to a specific political party.

The SHS-COMELEC. This research shall aid the SHS-COMELEC in gauging the views and preferences of the student body. Furthermore, this study shall allow the SHS-COMELEC to review its policies towards political parties.

Future researchers. Any future researchers who plan to explore this topic shall be able to use the results of this study to more ably give a proper correlation between winning and party affiliation in the student council elections.

Conceptual Framework

  1. Figure 1.1. Conceptual Framework

The study will use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the Rational Choice Theory of Voter Turnout as its framework in conducting the study. These frameworks shall also be utilized in the crafting of survey questionnaires that shall gather data for this study; in order to establish the rationale behind the backing of a political party of the student body. Furthermore, through the use of survey questionnaires, data are to be collected and interpreted, which results into the accomplishment of this study.

Definition of Terms

Political party. A political party is an organized body of like-minded people who work to elect candidates for public office who represent their values on matters of policy (Murse, 2019).

Voter preference. It is the person’s or a voter’s choice of political person, it may be influenced by a political candidate’s characteristics, ideology, or from factors a voter assumes to be of importance (Arnesen, Duell, & Johannesson, 2019).

Student government or student council. It is an elected group of students in a high school, college, or university who represent the students in meetings and who organize school activities (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, n.d.).

Chapter II

Review of related literature

In conducting this study, the researchers have sought to use two guiding frameworks to help better understand the ideas of a “political party” and “voter preference.” These two frameworks include Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the Rational Choice Theory of Voter Turnout.

Maslow`s hierarchy of needs

In an article by McLeod (2018), he discussed Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a psychological theory that focuses on the motivational factors driving or directing human behavior. Composed of five tiers, the model is depicted in a hierarchal level within a pyramid. Each need inside the pyramid must be satisfied prior to moving higher in the hierarchy, the hierarchy from bottom to top are as follows: Physiological, Safety, Love and Belonging, Esteem, and Self-Actualization.

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The hierarchy is further divided into two parts wherein the first four needs from the bottom upwards are categorized under what Maslow called as “Deficiency needs,” while the highest of the hierarchy or the need for self-actualization is categorized as a “growth need.”

Deficiency needs are said to arise from the deprivation of people from the factors that would meet or satisfy these needs, the deprivation of this needs is what drives or motivates people to fulfill such needs. The longer time or period a person is deprived of such needs the stronger the urge or motivation people get to fulfill them. An example of such is when a person goes long without any food, overtime the hungrier will they get. Maslow (1943; as stated in McLeod, 2018) initially stated that each individual must satisfy each level of the hierarchy before moving higher which he latter clarified to not be as an “all-or-none” phenomenon but more of a ‘more or less’ satisfaction will allow individuals to move higher in the hierarchy.

Growth needs on the other hand, is characterized to be continuously felt or engaged. Growth needs unlike deficiency needs stem from the desire to grow as a person rather than the lack of something that is need of fulfillment.

1. Physiological needs

These needs are characterized by Maslow as the biological factors required for human survival examples of such needs are food, drink, shelter, clothing, sex, sleep, etc.

2. Safety needs

The safety needs were characterized to be elements of protection, order, law, freedom from fear, etc. that gives an individual the feeling of security.

3. Love and belongingness

This level of the hierarchy involves the presence of other beings, it is fulfilled through socialization and involves the feeling of belongingness. This need is fulfilled through friendships, intimacy, trust, acceptance, being part of a group, etc.

4. Esteem

This need is classified into two categories namely esteem for oneself and desire for reputation. The prior being fulfilled if the person finds his dignity, achievements, mastery, and independence. The latter then being fulfilled through respect reputation or respect from others gained through status, prestige, etc. The latter of the two are characterized to be more important.

5. Self-Actualization

This need is realized and fulfilled through seeking self-fulfillment, personal growth, peak experiences, and potentials. A desire to become everything one can become.

Voter preference

Voter preference is one of the aspects that may affect the candidate’s status as for they need to shape their ideologies and characteristics for the voters. According to Miller and Shanks (1996), voters also judge candidates by their personal characteristics. Included among the relevant characteristics are such things as the experience, honesty, morality, compassion, competence, and leadership ability of the candidates. Voter’s preference varies from one’s political view. Besides on how they see the candidate, they form their own qualities personally from the candidate itself. One important aspect of personal character is the perceived honesty and trustworthiness of the candidates–what might be termed an integrity dimension. Another important dimension, which might be termed competence, involves the experience and knowledge of the candidates; in particular, voters are hardly likely to vote for someone whom they feel lacks the experience and ability to handle the job of president. A third important dimension involves the leadership ability of the candidates. Those who are perceived as strong and inspiring leaders are much more likely to be preferred by the voters. Finally, there is a compassion dimension; voters favor candidates whom they see as concerned and caring. These four dimensions of personal traits may vary in their importance; perhaps one or more of the dimensions will have little effect in any given election (Miller and Shanks 1996).

In the Philippine context, since one voter equals to one vote, candidates make their own ways to achieve the means of a Filipino voter. The Institute of Political and Electoral Reform (2003) conducted a study on the voting behavior of a Filipino electorate. The study shows the characteristics and variants of what a voter finds and select out of the candidates. The study identified the primary base of a Filipino voter was the popularity of the candidate and public image. The next factor is the endorsement of traditional networks and organizations, which includes the family, church, and ward leaders. The third factor that the voters consider in choosing a candidate is the characteristics that can be of benefit to the voter. The least consideration for the voters is the party program. (Neuman, 1991). Through time, generations of today have changes their ideologies. Furthermore, according to Maurcia (2017), voters today have become cynical about politics. The most important factor for them in choosing the candidates are those from whom they will benefit most, as preference was universally noted to be modified by decision-making processes, such as choices. Filipino millennial of today have set their standards of what candidates they want to vote for and have been more politically inclined than past generations. Millennials most prefer a presidential candidate who has an experience in politics. Political experience among the candidates who are aiming for a position is one of the primary attributes considered by the voters. Prior to this, there are two identified fundamental dimensions of voter choice between competing candidates: ideological differences between the candidates and differences in their quality as leaders. This quality that a candidate had built put reputation on his part and was significantly considered by the voters.

Rational choice theory of voter turnout

The predicted utility of voting for electors with ‘personal’ interests is roughly independent of the size of the population, indicating that even in broad elections, sensible voter turnouts can be significant (Edlin, Gelman & Kaplan, 2005). The probability of a vote being definitive in a broad election is low, but the social benefit correlated with determining the outcome of the election is high, so the potential gain from voting to a person with social biases can be substantial. Unexpectedly, the anticipated social gain cost does not fall close to zero or even decline as the number of voters rises. It was then mentioned by Edlin, et.al., (2005) that The key way to go beyond a circular argument (of the sort, ‘people vote because it offers them good value’) is to view the perceived social advantage not simply as an individual’s emotional function, but as a utility that is proportional to the probability of being crucial (self-endogenous) and the number of people affected by the election being regarded. It was assumed that this measure is reasonably compatible with how people view voting and participation— not merely as a pleasant act (possibly) or as a clandestine obligation, but as a possible commitment to the general good. According to Geys (2006), The game-theoretical approach to turnout–proposed by Ledyard (1984, as cited in Geys, 2006) and Palfrey and Rosenthal (1983, 1985 as cited in Geys, 2006)–argues that people are explicitly taking into account the decisions made by others. If everyone votes, there is very little chance of influencing the election outcome.

Because this applies for everyone, abstaining –in which case one vote is definitive–would be fair for everyone. If everyone came to this conclusion, everyone would vote–making voting again useless. This line of reasoning can be eternally repeated.

Chapter III

Research methodology

In order to achieve an organized and structured research paper, the researchers used various methods to achieve this end. The methodology employed by the researchers were the research design, sampling method, procedures of data gathering, research locale, and ethical considerations.

Research Design

The research design used for this study is a comparative study, as the researchers have sought to determine if there is an evident trend between voter preference on political parties in San Beda University Manila SHS SC elections in A.Y. 2018-2019 and A.Y. 2019-2020. With this research design, the researchers will dwell on the voters’ preferred “need” in Maslow’s Hierarchy that drives their preference of political parties. Moreover, a descriptive method was used by the researchers to describe the aforementioned trends that have taken place in the two (2) aforementioned election cycles.

Sampling Method

The researchers used random sampling as their sampling method, given all of the Grade 12 students as of A.Y. 2019-2020 are eligible voters for the SHS SC elections of A.Y. 2018-2019 and A.Y. 2019-2020. Accordingly, the participants of the study included all of the Grade 12 students as of A.Y. 2019-2020 who voted during the SHS SC elections stated above.

Procedures of Data Gathering

The instrument utilized by the researchers was a survey questionnaire comprised of the following parts: (a) a profile of the respondent, (b) a Likert Scale rating the five Hierarchy of Needs based on their importance to likely voters, (c) a checklist of which particular need corresponds to voter preference of a political party, and (d) determining which of the five Hierarchy of Needs are represented by a political party from: A.Y. 2018-2019 and A.Y. 2019-2020.

Research Locale

The research was conducted in San Beda University-Manila, wherein the respondents of this research are enrolled presently, as of A.Y. 2019-2020, in Grade 12.

Ethical Considerations

In conducting the research, the respondents are well oriented on the purpose of the interview and questionnaire, which will be used for the research study. Hence, the researchers and respondents formed an agreement on what will be acceptable and unacceptable in conducting the interview and answering the questionnaire. The respondents may decline in participating in the research study should they be out of time, and rest assured that the researchers ensured to treat the data gathered with the respondents with utmost confidentiality. Furthermore, the researchers no longer included in the data gathering the respondents who are unavailable during the time of data gathering.

Chapter IV

Presentation, analysis, and interpretation of data

The data gathered using the methodology cited by the researchers in the previous chapter of this paper shall be presented, analyzed, and interpreted in this succeeding chapter. In answering the research questions, the researchers encoded the responses generated through the selected instrument of this research.

The instrument utilized by the researchers was a survey questionnaire comprised of the following parts: (a) a profile of the respondent, (b) a Likert Scale rating the five Hierarchy of Needs based on their importance to likely voters, (c) a checklist of which particular need corresponds to voter preference of a political party, and (d) determining which of the five Hierarchy of Needs are represented by a political party from: A.Y. 2018-2019 and A.Y. 2019-2020.

This composition of the survey questionnaire is deduced from the research questions as mentioned in Chapter 1 of this study. The following are the research questions with their corresponding answers based on the data gathered by the researchers:

QUESTION 1: What are the attitudes of respondents towards Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a measurement of voter preference?

In measuring the attitudes of the respondents towards Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a measurement of voter preference, the researchers made use of a Likert Scale rating the five Hierarchy of Needs based on their importance to likely voters. This is broken down and tallied in Figure 2.1.

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Comparative Study on Voter Preference of Political Parties Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/comparative-study-on-voter-preference-of-political-parties-based-on-maslows-hierarchy-of-need/
“Comparative Study on Voter Preference of Political Parties Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/comparative-study-on-voter-preference-of-political-parties-based-on-maslows-hierarchy-of-need/
Comparative Study on Voter Preference of Political Parties Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/comparative-study-on-voter-preference-of-political-parties-based-on-maslows-hierarchy-of-need/> [Accessed 8 Dec. 2022].
Comparative Study on Voter Preference of Political Parties Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 14 [cited 2022 Dec 8]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/comparative-study-on-voter-preference-of-political-parties-based-on-maslows-hierarchy-of-need/
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