SWS poll: Poe, Binay, Roxas in ‘statistical tie’
Supporters of Mar Roxas have reason to cheer, as the standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) has practically caught up with fellow presidential aspirants Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay in the latest survey by Social Weather Stations (SWS).
The three contenders for the presidency in the May 2016 elections are in a tight race and how well they run their respective campaigns could spell the difference between winning and losing, an analyst said on Wednesday.
Poe and Binay are within 2 percentage points of each other, while Roxas is not far behind in the survey conducted from Sept. 2 to 5.
Poe was the choice of 26 percent of 1,200 respondents across the country while Binay was preferred by 24 percent. Roxas was picked by 20 percent.
The ratings of Poe, Binay and Roxas were “not statistically different,” said Leo Laroza, director for survey data library at SWS.
No one ahead
Laroza noted that the margin among the three candidates was not significant given the survey’s margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.
“It is a tight ranking. No one can really say one is ahead of the other,” he said.
But when one uses absolute percentages to rank them, Poe is ahead, followed by Binay and Roxas, Laroza added.
In the survey, the respondents were given a list of 12 names provided by BusinessWorld, which commissioned the poll, and were asked, “Among the names found on this list, who will you probably vote for President of the Philippines if the elections were held today?
Earl Parreño, political analyst and member of the board of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said the results of the survey showed a tight race.
Parreño said that in a three-way fight, Binay, who had already established a solid base, might have a little advantage because Poe and Roxas might figure in a tug-of-war. He, however, noted that the ratings could still move.
“It will depend on how the candidates, especially Poe and Roxas will handle their respective campaigns, how they will deliver their message and whether they will have a shared value with the people,” Parreño said.
Matter of time
Senate President Franklin Drilon, LP vice chair, lauded Roxas’ upward trajectory in surveys, as he noted that his rivals’ numbers seemed to have plateaued or gone down.
Drilon said it was only a matter of time before Roxas could overtake his opponents. He noted that a few months ago, another survey showed Roxas being the choice of only 4 percent of respondents.
“Roxas’ zooming trajectory is very evident in all surveys. This should be a cause of concern for his opponents because, by all indications, it is just a matter of time before Roxas gets ahead of them,” he said.
The presidential hopefuls have less than a month before the filing of the certificates of candidacy set on Oct. 12 to 16.
Drilon attributed Roxas’ improving numbers to President Aquino’s “very strong commitment” that Roxas would adhere to the principle of daang matuwid (straight path governance).
“The SWS survey gives us encouragement that this platform of good governance and daang matuwid is the platform that we should follow,” he said.
Sen. Serge Osmeña III said Roxas’ numbers could not be attributed to the President’s endorsement, but to the publicity about him as well as to the advertisements promoting his candidacy.
Osmeña continues to believe that a presidential endorsement carried little weight for a candidate, saying Filipino voters like to decide for themselves.
He raised doubts about the SWS survey, as it had asked respondents to choose from a list of 12 names when it was unlikely that there would be that many candidates for the presidency come election time.
Others on list
Others on the list for the presidential preference survey were Sen. Francis Escudero (4 percent), former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada (3 percent), Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago (2 percent) and former Sen. Manny Villar (1 percent).
Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and Sen. Loren Legarda each obtained 0.8 percent while 2 percent were undecided.
After Poe declaration
Remaining on top in the most recent surveys is something she is thankful for, but Poe is looking forward to the polls conducted after her formal announcement of candidacy.
The SWS survey was conducted two weeks before Poe’s Sept. 16 announcement that she would seek the presidency.
Poe thanked Filipinos for their continued confidence in her and her performance.
“I’m looking forward to the proceeding surveys where the respondents are already aware of my intention to run and have also had a preview of the programs I wish to promote and support,” she said in a text message.
Poe has been topping surveys even before the formal announcement of her candidacy. But after her popularity surged, questions about her residency and citizenship were raised.
She is now facing a disqualification case for allegedly not being a natural-born Filipino, a requirement for those holding elective office. The case stems from her being a foundling, because with her parents unknown, there is no saying if they are also Filipinos.
But Poe said she was very touched that President Aquino had sympathized with her position. Aquino has said she should be given the opportunity to aspire for the presidency.
Binay to work harder
Binay said the survey showed that Poe’s lead “is not that big like the previous one.”
The Vice President told reporters at the Bacoor Coliseum in Cavite province where he spoke that the survey results depended on the methodology used and the questions asked.
In his interview with Reuters on Monday which his office included in his statement, Binay said he planned to work harder than other presidential contenders in reaching out to people.
Battle for every vote
Binay’s political spokesman, Rico Quicho, said the latest survey “will inspire the Vice President and his core supporters to work harder and not be overconfident.”
“The elections will be a battle for every single vote and the Vice President will continue to personally meet with the people around the country,” Quicho said.
Malacañang said the results of the survey “reflect public sentiments on the future leadership of the country.”
“As the survey was conducted eight months before the polls, it is reasonable to expect changes as candidates’ platforms of government are discussed more extensively and as voters assess further their worthiness for the office,” it added.
Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, the LP’s political affairs committee chair, cited the momentum of Roxas’ multiple-point rise in surveys as one of the reasons he would eventually be on top in three months.
“By October, during the filing of certificates of candidacy, only the LP will have a complete slate, and that will contribute (to the rise),” he told a press forum.
Erice acknowledged that the SWS survey was taken when Poe had not yet declared her run for the presidency and she might still rise in the ratings.
But he said Roxas was making significant inroads in appealing to voters.
“Before, he was seen as a serious government worker. Now the public knows he is a presidential candidate. That’s what will raise his rating in the surveys,” Erice said.
Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas said the LP leaders were surprised about Roxas’ rating.
“It exceeded our expectations. We thought the President’s endorsement would improve Roxas’ standing by a modest 5 percent. This is a happy work week for LP,” Vargas said.
Vargas said the LP was looking to further improve Roxas’ status in the next survey in December to cement his standing ahead of the start of the campaign.—With reports from Armand Galang, Inquirer Central Luzon; and Jerry Esplanada in Manila
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