Even the administration coalition didn’t expect Grace Poe to top the senatorial elections.
Team Pnoy campaign manager Sen. Franklin Drilon told reporters their own surveys indicated Poe might land in the Top Five but did not predict she would bag the No. 1 slot.
He recalled, however, that their internal pollsters had told them that about two weeks to a month before the election, Poe’s survey ranking “indicated an upward trajectory.”
Nonetheless, Drilon said Poe’s performance was a “pleasant surprise.”
“We didn’t expect it. We expected her to be in the Top Five. All our surveys indicated she was in the Top Five. Two to five, three to four…but we didn’t expect it,” Drilon said of Poe’s top showing in a talk with reporters at the Team Pnoy campaign headquarters on Friday.
“Two weeks or a month before the election, our pollsters were telling us that Grace Poe’s surveys indicated an upward trajectory. They were saying this is a good indication,” he added.
But Drilon said this also indicated that elections were influenced by personalities rather than party stands.
He said this affected the candidacies of three administration candidates that are facing defeat in the polls—former Senators Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and Jamby Madrigal, and former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros.
“Notwithstanding every effort we exerted to make it a policy-driven campaign based on party platforms, the electorate did not react favorably to that kind of campaign. It’s still personality-based, names, popularity. So it has nothing to do with parties,” Drilon said.
Asked what made it difficult for the three administration candidates to make it to the winning circle of 12, Drilon said, “The branding of Binay and to a certain extent Ejercito was difficult to overcome.”
“We tried but, maybe, I don’t know if a few more weeks would have made the difference. I don’t think so,” Drilon said.
The UNA candidates that appear to have made it to the Top 12 were Nancy Binay, the daughter of vice president Jejomar Binay; JV Ejercito, the son of former president Joseph Estrada, and Gregorio Honasan, a reelectionist senator and hero of the revolt that toppled Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.