VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Exit poll on overseas voting in 5 countries UNOFFICIAL

Needs context

An exit poll showing the supposed results on the first day of overseas voting in five different countries needs context.

On April 12, a Facebook user published a screenshot showing alleged exit poll results in Qatar, Italy, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It bore the caption: “Ano na lugaw hahahaha bukas abangan ang boto mo.dito sa UAE (Now what, [Leni]? Hahahaha wait for your votes tomorrow here in UAE).”

The unofficial poll shows presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. with a three- to four-digit lead over his rivals, who received only single to double-digit votes. The FB post does not identify who commissioned the poll.

Exit poll results like the one currently circulating online should not be considered a reliable source to establish a trend in the outcome of elections. 

Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesperson James Jimenez said in an April 11 tweet that exit polls are “not the official tally of votes” for the upcoming May 9 polls.

“Tandaan din na bibilangin lang ang mga boto ng Overseas Voting on May 9 (Remember that the votes for Overseas Voting will only be counted on May 9), AFTER the close of polls,” he said.

Jimenez wrote in another tweet that exit polls are “unreliable” if they are not from reputable survey firms, as they can easily imitate “official-looking” forms.

The Philippine embassies in Qatar and Riyadh released advisories on April 13 and 14, warning the public that premature announcement of voting results violates the Fair Elections Act.

“The Embassy will only start canvassing the votes upon termination of voting on 09 May 2022,” the office in Saudi Arabia said.

It added: “No individual or entity has been authorized to conduct any form of exit poll or unofficial tally.”


The post needing context appeared two days after the 30-day overseas voting period began on April 10. The Comelec task force on disinformation is currently investigating claims of pre-shaded ballots in Singapore and Dubai . Meanwhile, embassies in both countries have denied such incidents.

The circulating unofficial exit poll has garnered more than 25,520 interactions and could have reached over 19.6 million people. According to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle, at least 90 other FB groups and pages have published it. Among those whose copies gained the most traction are FB pages RamTzyy TV (Oct. 5, 2021), The Best Ka Tatay Digong (Nov. 23, 2018) and two netizens.

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)