MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe and her running mate Sen. Francis Escudero will begin the official campaign period on Tuesday on a high note after topping the latest pre-election survey released by Pulse Asia yesterday.
The non-commissioned survey, conducted from Jan. 24 to 28, showed that 30 percent of the 1,800 respondents want Poe – an independent – as president.
Her ratings jumped by nine points from 21 percent in December, surging past opposition candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay, who had 23 percent voter preference in the latest survey.
Binay suffered a 10-point decline, putting him statistically tied in second place with Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Both Roxas and Duterte obtained 20 percent voter preference in the latest Pulse Asia survey.
The administration bet was up by three points from the 17 percent rating in December, while the tough-talking mayor suffered a three-point decline from last survey’s 23 percent.
Trailing them is Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, whose ratings remain unchanged at four percent.
Pulse Asia noted that only Poe and Binay experienced marked movements in their presidential voter preferences between December 2015 and January 2016.
In the previous survey, Binay regained his lead from Poe, who surged past the opposition standard-bearer in the middle of last year.
The latest survey was conducted at a time when the Supreme Court is conducting oral arguments on the disqualification cases filed against the lady senator.
Other issues that hit the news cycle during the time of the survey was the conclusion of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee hearing on the corruption allegations against Binay, the reopening of the Mamasapano inquiry in the Senate, the delay in the printing of the ballots due to the disqualification cases against Poe and Duterte, and the presidential veto on the proposed hike in pension of Social Security System members.
Based on the latest survey, Poe is the most favored candidate among voters in Luzon (39 percent), while she shares the top spot in Metro Manila with Binay (33 percent vs 32 percent).
Roxas is the most preferred among candidates in the Visayas (32 percent), while almost half of Mindanaoans prefer Duterte (48 percent) over the rest of the candidates.
In terms of socio-economic classes, Poe is the most preferred candidate among Class D voters (32 percent). Almost the same voter preferences were recorded by the four leading candidates among voters from Class ABC.
Binay leads preference among Class E voters with 30 percent, followed by Poe (26 percent) and Roxas (25 percent).
The survey showed significant decline of support for Binay among voters in the Visayas and Mindanao, as well as in Class E, which he has previously identified as his support base.
Poe, meanwhile, obtained more support from voters from all geographic locations and socio-economic classes.
Poe’s running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, also retained his lead in the vice presidential race with 33 percent voter preference. He gained four points from last survey’s 29 percent.
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. remained in second place with an unchanged 23 percent voter preference.
Placing third is administration bet Leni Robredo with 18 percent, up four points from the previous survey’s 14 percent.
She switched rankings with Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who suffered a four-point drop to 14 percent from last survey’s 18 percent.
Trailing them are opposition candidate Gregorio Honasan II, whose ratings went down to five percent from the previous nine percent, and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, with an unchanged rating of four percent.
Poe yesterday said she was overwhelmed and humbled by the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey.
In a statement, Poe said the survey “echoes the voice of the people who trust and believe in my capacity to be a leader no matter what hurdles are thrown my way.”
“The Filipinos will always be my inspiration to stay the course and work harder, especially now that the official campaign period is about to commence. I am ready to serve and work to bring the change that the Filipinos deserve,” she said.
When the December results showing her falling to second place came out, the camp of Poe said this was caused by the wrong perception of many sectors that she was no longer a candidate.
Escudero said the perception was in huge part the result of the disqualification cases filed against Poe and the misinformation being spread by her opponents that she has been disqualified.
Escudero said that the situation has returned to normal now that the electorate has been informed that Poe remains a candidate.
Poe’s spokesman Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian said the camp of Poe will continue to amplify the message that she is still a candidate for the presidency.
“We believe that there are still voters out there who are uncertain about the status of her candidacy, hence it becomes more imperative for us to clarify that matter and as a result gain more ground,” Gatchalian said.
Meanwhile, the camp of Binay remains optimistic on his chances of winning the elections despite being overtaken by Poe in the latest Pulse Asia pre-election survey.
“The Vice President has always maintained that the most important survey is on Election Day,” said Rico Quicho, spokesman for political affairs.
“As the campaign progresses, the numbers will be fluid but what will be constant for us is the Vice President’s direct contact with our people,” he added.
In his statement yesterday, Quicho said the country needs a decisive and experienced president who could urgently address various issues hounding the country.
“This election is about poverty, hunger and unemployment that persist despite claims of economic growth,” he said.
The latest survey results came out even as his camp confirmed that former interior secretary and seasoned political strategist Ronaldo Puno has gone on board and is currently a campaign adviser of the opposition party.
For the LP, the latest Pulse Asia survey showed that their standard-bearers are on the right track to win the upcoming national elections.
“I like that trajectory,” LP campaign spokesman Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez said during a chance interview at an open governance forum in Quezon City yesterday. “We are confident that we will win.”
Despite lagging behind some of their opponents, Gutierrez noted that both Roxas and Robredo basically started from nothing, with people previously thinking that they are not serious competitors in the respective races.
He said they expect their bets’ ratings to continue rising once they go around the country during the campaign period, which will start on Tuesday.
The Daang Matuwid coalition will kick-off the official campaign period in Roxas’ home province of Capiz.
Robredo, who is representative of Camarines Sur’s third district, yesterday said her current survey rating went beyond her target of 15 percent.
She said this is a big improvement from the one percent rating that she garnered when she announced her candidacy last October.
Confident that she will still be able to catch up with her rivals, Robredo said she is counting on the support of local officials.
Her husband, former interior secretary Jesse Robredo, served as Naga City mayor for 19 years, leaving a solid legacy of good governance.
“The reputation of my husband precedes me,” she said when she visited Negros Occidental last Friday. – With Marvin Sy, Danny Dangcalan