TWO months before the presidential elections, Senator Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay now share the lead at 26 percent and 25 percent, respectively, according to the Pulse Asia survey for February.
Close behind the leading candidates are Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte and administration standard bearer Manuel A. Roxas II, with 21 percent. Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago received 3 percent, while 4 percent said they still did not know how they would vote.
The survey, conducted from Feb. 15 to 20, used face-to-face interviews with 1,800 registered voters nationwide, with a ± 2 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level. The margin of error was a higher ± 6 percent in Metro Manila results, ± 3 percent for the rest of Luzon and ± 5 percent for Visayas and Mindanao.
Binay posted a strong showing in Metro Manila, taking the lead at 33 percent, followed by Poe and Duterte at 23 percent.
In the rest of Luzon, Poe garnered 33 percent to Binay’s 29 percent.
Roxas led in the Visayas (35 percent), while Duterte held a commanding 45 percent in Mindanao.
In the vice presidential race, Senators Francis Escudero and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. were statistically tied for first place, at 29 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
Administration candidate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo was in second place with 19 percent, while Senator Alan Peter Cayetano came in third with 12 percent. Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Gregorio Honasan II had 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Poe, Roxas and Duterte did well among the more well-off Class ABC voters, with 25 percent, 25 percent and 24 percent, respectively. Only 14 percent from these voters went for Binay.
Among the poorer Class D voters, Binay and Poe were ahead with 25 percent, followed by Duterte, 22 percent; and Roxas, 21 percent.
Among the poorest Class E voters, 31 percent said they would vote for Binay and 28 percent said they would go for Poe.
The levels of support for the presidential candidate remained constant from the January survey, said Ronald Holmes, Pulse Asia Research Inc. president.
The only significant movement was he decline in the level of support enjoyed by Poe in the most numerous Class D (-7 percentage points), he said.
In the vice presidential race, Escudero and Marcos shared the lead in Metro Manila (35 percent and 34 percent, respectively), the rest of Luzon (31 percent and 32 percent, repectively) and among Class D voters (30 percent and 26 percent, respectively).
Among Visayans, the top vice presidential bets were Escudero (29 percent) and Robredo (28 percent).
Mindanaoans were most inclined to support Escudero (22 percent), Cayetano (22 percent), Marcos (19 percent) and Robredo (16 percent).
Marcos drew support from Class ABC voters with a 44 percent lead, while Escudero led among the poorest Class E voters, with 32 percent.
Pulse Asia said there were no significant changes in the voter preferences of these vice presidential candidates between January and February 2016.
Compared to Pulse Asia’s January survey, Poe lost 4 percentage points while Binay gained 2 points. Duterte and Roxas both had a one-point gain. Santiago lost one point.
Escudero lost four points from January, while Marcos gained 3 points.
Roxas’ running mate, Robredo, gained 1 percentage point, while Duterte’s vice presidential candidate, Cayetano, lost 2 points.
In the senatorial race, a big plurality of Filipinos or 44 percent already have a complete senatorial slate.
Of the 56 senatorial candidates, 14 have a statistical chance of winning a seat in the Senate, Pulse Asia said.
Of these probable winners, only former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has not had any previous legislative experience.
From January to February, senatorial candidate, boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao suffered the biggest decline of 12.1 percentage points, easing him out of the top 10 to rank 11th to 14th. It was during this period that Pacquiao drew criticism for saying homosexuals were “worse than animals.”
With two months to go, Holmes said Filipinos are naming a mean of nine and a median of 10 of their preferred senatorial candidates for the May 2016 elections out of a maximum of 12.
Sharing the top spot in the senatorial race are Senator Vicente Sotto III (63.6 percent) and former Senator Panfilo Lacson (60.2 percent), both of whom are ranked first to second places.
Occupying third to fifth spots are former Senator Francis Pangilinan (54.1 percent) and Ralph Recto (53.4 percent).
Senate President Franklin Drilon was in third to sixth place (52.4 percent) while former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri was ranked fifth to seventh at 48.5 percent.
The other probable winners in the May 2016 senatorial elections were De Lima (45.3 percent, 6th to 10th places); Senator Sergio Osmeña III (43.7 percent, 7th to 10th places); former Senator Richard Gordon (42.6 percent, 7th to 11th places); Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian (41.2 percent, 7th to 12th place); Emmanuel Villanueva (39.1 percent, ninth to 14th places); Senator Teofisto Guingona III (36.7 percent, 10th to14th place); former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros (36.2 percent, 11th to 14th places); and Pacquiao (34.8 percent, 11th to 14th place).
Only 2.3 percent of Filipinos are not supporting any senatorial candidate at this time.
Among the senatorial candidates, Sotto, Gordon, Drilon, Zubiri, Recto, Osmeña, Pangilinan and Pacquiao saw their support decline from January, Pulse Asia said.
Senator Grace Poe, on a campaign stop in Zamboanga City, said she was surprised by the results of the Pulse Asia survey showing her as the top choice for president, despite the attacks on her qualifications to run for the country’s top elected position.
“I am wholeheartedly thankful to our people that despite doubts, the disqualification, they still believe in our platform and they continue to support us,” said Poe.
Speaking in a news conference at Lantaka Hotel, Poe said the survey results serve as their guide.
She also underscored the importance of going around the country to bring their message to the people, and promised to continue doing this in the Visayas and Mindanao, with 65 days left in the campaign period.
Poe’s spokesperson, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, said the Pulse Asia survey showed that voters continue to stand behind her despite the attacks on her qualifications.
“Senator Poe is grateful to the Filipino voting public for their continued trust and confidence,” he said.
“Their steadfast support will serve as inspiration for Senator Poe to intensify her campaign that is anchored on the message of Gobyernong may Puso,” he added.
Poe’s lawyer, George Garcia, lashed out at critics who are trying to preempt the Supreme Court by speculating on its decision on the pending disqualification cases.
Garcia made the statement amid rumors that majority of the magistrates would vote to disqualify her for her supposed failure to satisfy the 10-year residency requirement for presidential candidates.
The senator’s lawyer said Poe’s opponents are now harping on the residency issue after they failed to prove their claim that she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen.
“Obviously, her opponents want to highlight the residency issue because they failed to prove their case against Senator Poe over the issue of citizenship,” Garcia said.
“In fact, even the justices provided the legal bases that foundlings are natural-born Filipinos during the extensive oral arguments,” he added.
The Duterte camp said they were unfazed by the latest Pulse Asia survey, saying it would encourage them to work harder.
“On the ground, we are heartened and inspired by the positive and overwhelming responses from the people since we hit the campaign trail,” said Duterte’s spokesman, Peter Laviña.
Vice presidential candidate Marcos said the latest Pulse Asia survey is a reaffirmation that his message for national unity is being accepted by the Filipino people as well as a reflection of the increasing clamor for genuine change through unity.
“We will strive harder to deliver our message to our countrymen, especially our less fortunate brothers and sisters,” Marcos added. – With Rey E. Requejo and Rio N. Araja
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