SENATOR Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte are statistically tied as the preferred candidate for president, the latest survey by Pulse Asia said Tuesday.
“The May 2016 presidential elections is shaping up to be a very tight race involving four contenders,” Pulse Asia said.
Sharing the top spot were Poe and Duterte at 26 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
Close behind them were Vice President Jejomar Binay at 22 percent and administration candidate Manuel Roxas II at 20 percent.
In third place was Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, with 3 percent.
The survey, commissioned by ABS-CBN, was conducted from March 8 to 13, had over 4,000 respondents and a margin of error of 1.5 percent.
The most favored presidential candidates in Metro Manila were Poe (30 percent), Duterte (29 percent), and Binay (23 percent).
Poe scored the highest voter preference in the rest of Luzon (34 percent).
Roxas was the top pick for president in the Visayas (36 percent), while Duterte led not only in Mindanao (46 percent) but also in Class ABC (35 percent).
Poe and Duterte are the leading presidential bets in Class D (26 percent and 25 percent, respectively).
In Class E, four presidential candidates enjoy basically the same voter preferences—Poe (27 percent), Binay (25 percent), Duterte (23 percent), and Roxas (21 percent).
The leading alternative presidential candidate is Poe as 30 percent of those with a first choice for
president say they will vote for her in the event that their original candidate for the post backs out of the May 2016 elections for whatever reason.
In solo second place was Binay (19 percent), while Roxas and Duterte shared the third spot (14 percent and 13 percent, respectively).
Santiago registered a single-digit second-choice voter preference (7 percent).
Almost two in 10 registered voters with a first choice for president were not inclined to name an alternative candidate for the position (16 percent).
Poe scored the highest second-choice voter preference in Metro Manila (28 percent), the rest of Luzon (32 percent), the Visayas (29 percent), Mindanao (30 percent), Class D (30 percent), and Class E (32 percent).
In Class ABC, the lead was shared by Poe (25 percent), Duterte (22 percent), and Binay (19 percent).
Across geographic areas, levels of non-support for an alternative presidential candidate range from 11 percent in Mindanao to 22 percent in the Visayas.
In terms of socio-economic classes, essentially the same levels of non-support were posted (15 percent to 17 percent).
Should Poe end up not pursuing her presidential bid in May 2016, about the same percentage of her voters would back either Binay (27 percent) or Roxas (25 percent).
Poe thanked the public for choosing her as their top choice.
“We owe it to them for making their voices heard on their choice for the next president,” she said.
With about a month and a half remaining in the campaign period, she said there will be no letup in their efforts to explain to the people what her administration could do for them.
“We will be steadfast in connecting with the people and earning the highest mandate come May 9,” she added.
As the local campaign starts, the senator’s spokesman, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, said Poe is confident that her supporters running for various local positions will help relay her message to the voting public.
After learning of the latest survey results, Duterte’s camp vowed to work doubly hard to cover more ground and gain more voters.
“We are where we are comfortable right now. We expect to gain more points as we move toward the second half of the campaign,” said Duterte’s campaign manager, Mayor Leoncio Evasco.
“With a margin of error of 1.5 percent, Duterte is finally catching up with the poll leaders for the first time since the presidential campaign period started on Feb. 9,” he added.
Evasco attributed Duterte’s rise to the clamor among the people for genuine change in the national leadership.
“There is this growing groundswell of discontent among the people and they see in Duterte the strong leadership that the country has been wanting over the last decade,” he said.
Roxas said he remained hopeful that his rating would soon surge as the campaign for local candidates begins next week.
“This is good. The results just mean that this is a tight race and after the Holy Week, the local campaign will start and we think that we have an advantage because many allies are supporting the straight path,” Roxas told reporters at a leather goods factory in Pampanga.
His spokesman, Rep. Barry Gutierrez, said Roxas’ performance during the second presidential debate in Cebu on Sunday would benefit the administration candidate.
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