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Duterte is top choice in latest Pulse Asia poll

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who led Sen. Grace Poe by 7 points in an earlier Pulse Asia survey, has widened his lead. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Ryan Lim, file

MANILA, Philippines - Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte pulled away from his rivals in the latest Pulse Asia survey with a lead of 12 points over Sen. Grace Poe.

According to the survey, which was commissioned by and first published by ABS-CBN, 34 percent of respondents in a nationwide survey of 4,000 respondents picked Duterte, with more than half -- 61 percent -- of respondents in Mindanao saying they would vote for him had the elections been held from April 12-17.

Poe, who topped pre-election surveys in the past, got 22 percent of respondents, while Vice President Jejomar Binay had 19 percent. Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II was picked by 18 percent of respondents and 2 percent said they would vote for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Duterte was picked by 43 percent of respondents in Metro Manila against Poe's 22 percent. Binay had 19 percent while Roxas had 11 percent.

Poe, however, led in the rest of Luzon with 30 percent against Binay's 26 percent. Duterte received a score of 20 percent in Balance Luzon against Roxas' 14 percent.

Duterte also inched closer to Roxas in the Visayas, with 28 percent picking the Davao City mayor. Roxas still leads in the region with 34 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him had the elections been held then.

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The Davao City mayor, who has been both praised and criticized for his tough talk, was the top choice across social classes, with close to half -- 47 percent -- in Class ABC picking him. He also scored 33 percent among Class D respondents. Poe was at second place with 23 percent.

He also bested Poe, his closest rival, among Class E respondents, 34 percent to 23 percent. 

The Pulse Asia survey was conducted before a video of Duterte making a controversial remark about an Australian missionary who was raped and killed in a hostage-taking incident in the Davao penal colony in 1989 went viral and was reported in the news. The mayor and his supporters have said that the video, taken during a political rally this month, was of him recounting the 1989 incident and was not a joke.

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