The purpose of this research note was to determine whether Philippine politics could be characterized as fitting a “machine politics model” (James Scott, “Corruption, Machine Politics, and Political Development, APSR, 63 [December, 1969], 1142–1158). A province was selected which matched the criteria cited in Scott's model, and provincial political leaders and subleaders were asked to evaluate important considerations they used in deciding whom to support for public office.
Scott proposed that in electoral political systems, support moves from a dependence on deference to a dependence on particularistic rewards, and finally to dependence on ideology. Part of the study tested the three-phase model using factor analysis on ten variables generally thought to be crucial in Philippine politics. The factor analysis revealed six factors, three which matched Scott's three phases plus: the chance of winning, the use of threats, and party loyalty. Although Scott's three-phase model was rejected as inadequate, at the descriptive level the general attributes of machine politics (particularly as Philippine politics has moved from a reliance on deference and personal loyalty to a dependence on material reward) could be used to characterize Philippine politics.