Duterte maintains survey lead after rape remark


MANILA, Philippines - More respondents in a new Social Weather Stations pre-election survey picked Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte over his rivals despite controversy over a remark that he made at a political rally about an Australian lay minister raped and killed in a hostage-taking incident in 1989.

In an SWS survey conducted on April 18-20, the results of which were first published on BusinessWorld, 33 percent of respondents said they preferred Duterte over other candidates, up from 27 percent in a survey conducted from March 30 to April 2.

Sen. Grace Poe, who used to lead the pack in pre-election polls, was chosen by 24 percent of respondents, up slightly from a previous 23 percent. Liberal Party candidate Manuel "Mar" Roxas II inched up to 19 percent from 18 percent to overtake Vice President Jejomar Binay, who scored 14 percent against a previous 20 percent.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who has been less active in the campaign because of her health, was picked by two percent of respondents, down from three percent.

A separate Pulse Asia survey conducted just before Duterte's rape comment gained media coverage and released early Sunday also had Duterte in the lead, with 34 percent of 4,000 respondents preferring him. Poe was at second place at 22 percent.

The rape remark earned Duterte criticism and was covered by international media, but some of his supporters said the comment -- recorded on video during a political rally in Quezon City this month -- was taken out of context and have blamed media bias for coverage of the issue and its implications.

Meanwhile, the SWS survey saw Camarines Rep. Leni Robredo -- Roxas' vice presidential candidate in the Liberal Party-lead coalition -- surging to 26 percent against Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who was preferred by 25 percent of respondents. In a previous SWS poll, Robredo was at 19 percent while Marcos was at 21 percent.

Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero was at third place with 18 percent while Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano was picked by 16 percent of those surveyed. Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Gregorio Honasan trailed the pack at five percent and two percent of respondents.

The SWS survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 1,800 validated voters and has a sampling error margin of ±2 points.

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