Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV and Grace Poe, both of the administration coalition’s Team PNoy, posted “significant gains in electoral support” between January and February, catapulting them to the winning circle of the senatorial race, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey.
Aquino and Poe were among the 15 of the 33 senatorial candidates who would have a “statistical chance of winning” a Senate seat had the elections been held late last month, Pulse Asia said.
The survey, conducted from Feb. 24 to Feb. 28 and released on Monday, showed nine candidates from Team PNoy and six candidates from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in the winning circle.
The survey used face-to-face interviews with 1,800 registered voters. It had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2 percentage points.
The percentage of those who said they were voting for Aquino, a former National Youth Commission chairman, rose 11.8 points, from 31.4 percent in January to 43.2 percent in February. His rank also improved from 13th to 15th places to 4th to 9th places.
Those who said they would vote for Poe, a former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chairperson, jumped 11.2 points to 42.1 percent, improving her previous ranking of 13th to 16th places to 4th to 10th places.
The survey showed reelectionist Senators Loren Legarda (NPC/Team PNoy, 56.7 percent), Francis Escudero (Independent/Team PNoy, 54.9 percent) and Alan Peter Cayetano (NP/Team PNoy, 52.8 percent) sharing 1st to 3rd places.
Landing in the 4th to 9th places were former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar (NP/Team PNoy, 44 percent), San Juan City Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada (UNA, 43.8 percent), Aquino (LP/Team PNoy, 43.2 percent) and UNA deputy secretary general Nancy Binay (UNA, 42.5 percent).
Poe (Independent/Team PNoy, 42.1 percent) was in 4th to 10th places, while Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (PDP/Team PNoy, 40.1 percent) was in 4th to 12th places.
Completing the list were Sen. Gringo Honasan (UNA, 37.9 percent, 8th to 13th places), Cagayan Rep. Juan Ponce Enrile Jr. (NPC/UNA, 36.6 percent, 9th to 15th places), Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (NP/Team PNoy, 36.1 percent, 9th to 15th places), Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara (LDP/Team PNoy, 35.1 percent, 10th to 15th places), former Bukidnon Rep. Juan Miguel Zubiri (UNA, 33.2 percent, 11th to 16th places), and former Sen. Richard Gordon (UNA, 32.2 percent, 11th to 16th places).
“With less than three months to go before the May 2013 elections, 42 percent of Filipinos are already naming 12 preferred candidates for the Senate,” Pulse Asia said in a statement. “Filipinos are naming an average of eight preferred senatorial candidates and a median of 10.”
“The latest Pulse Asia survey shows the continued overwhelming dominance of Team PNoy,” said the Team PNoy spokesman Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo.
Quimbo said the campaign was “about issues and our people are listening, responding, and reacting to our candidates in a meaningful way. All our sorties bear this out.”
He noted that Poe got a boost in her rating despite being dropped by (UNA).
“This only means that UNA lacks endorsement power,” Quimbo said, referring to UNA’s decision to drop Poe and two other Team PNoy candidates, Legarda and Escudero, as guest candidates from its slate last month.
Aquino’s wife, Timi, told reporters covering the Team PNoy campaign in Gumaca, Quezon, Monday that her husband’s “hard work especially of his supporters and a consistent message” should be credited for his dramatic rise in the survey.
Poe welcomed the news of her position in the Pulse Asia survey. Still, she encouraged voters to assess all candidates critically after noting that “there are still competent bets out there who are not in the Top 12.”
Fight even harder
Former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros said the latest report “inspires me to fight even harder” to enter the Top 12.
The two remaining months of the campaign would be enough for him to enter the Top 12, according to Angara. He said the survey results meant that he needed to “go around more and join President Aquino in the sorties since it is on these occasions when there is good media coverage.”
UNA campaign manager Toby Tiangco said the survey results were a challenge for the group to work harder to get its message out to the voters.
“It’s very volatile. This means the voters aren’t decided yet, they are still changing their minds,” Tiangco said in a phone interview.
Tiangco noted that scores of the candidates were not that far apart. “It’s an opportunity to work harder and to get to the voters,” he said.
JV Estrada thanked the public for his ranking.
“The sustained strong trust being given to me by Filipino voters inspires me to do more for them,” Estrada said in a statement.—Reports from Kate Pedroso, Inquirer Research; Cathy Yamsuan and Leila B. Salaverria