Duterte ties Poe at No. 1 in latest Pulse survey
SEN. GRACE Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte are statistically tied at No. 1 in what appears to be a very close contest among the four leading presidential candidates, according to a Pulse Asia survey conducted in the second week of March.
According to the pre-electoral poll, commissioned by ABS-CBN television and released Tuesday, Poe was the choice of 26 percent while Duterte was favored by 25 percent.
Three percentage points separated Duterte and Vice President Jejomar Binay who was in third place with 22 percent while Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas obtained 20 percent. Only 3 percent chose Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
“The May 2016 presidential election is shaping up to be a very tight race involving four contenders,” Pulse Asia said.
“I expect the figures to move but I don’t know how significant. They are changing places and with the [presidential] debates, I expect [the numbers] to move given how the people perceive their performance,” Pulse Asia research director Ana Tabunda said.
Senators Bongbong Marcos (25 percent) and Chiz Escudero (24 percent) were also neck and neck in the race for the vice presidency.
Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo was in third place with 20 percent, followed by Senators Alan Peter Cayetano (13 percent), Antonio Trillanes IV (6 percent), and Gringo Honasan (5 percent).
SC ruling on Poe
The survey was conducted from March 8 to 13, following the March 8 ruling of the Supreme Court allowing Poe to run for the country’s highest post. Voting 9 to 6, the high court reversed the Commission on Elections decision disqualifying Poe for misrepresenting the facts of her citizenship and residency.
“We thought she [Poe] would increase… [This] shows the voters are not looking at [the developments related to] just one candidate but they are looking at all the candidates,” Tabunda said in a phone interview.
Apart from the debates, Tabunda said the shifting of alliances could also be a factor, citing the development in Cebu province where One Cebu, a political party of the Garcias, announced on Monday that it was withdrawing support from Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Tide will turn
“Good. This only shows that the race is becoming tight. After the Holy Week, when the local (campaign) begins, I think we’ll have an edge because we have many allies who are supportive of the straight path,” he said.
Roxas, who was interviewed while campaigning in Bacolor, Pampanga province, Tuesday, expects the tide to turn in his favor.
“As I’ve been saying, the most important and crucial survey is the one on May 9,” he said.
The Poe camp said the Pulse Asia survey was “enlightening” as it showed that the disqualification case mattered to less than 10 percent of voters.
Cebu Rep. Joseph Ace Durano, campaign manager of Poe’s Team Galing at Puso, said they are not disappointed that Poe’s numbers did not get a positive lift from the Supreme Court decision allowing her to run.
“We received a briefing from Pulse Asia regarding the ratings of Senator Grace that same afternoon the SC decision came out (March 8). The survey revealed that [of the respondents] who didn’t make Senator Grace their first choice for President, only 8 percent cited the DQ case as their reason,” Durano said in a text message.
“We realized then that we have to intensify our efforts in communicating to the voters the vision and proposed programs of Senator Grace. This is what we need to do to get our ratings up,” said Durano.
Even as their candidate landed in third place, the Binay camp said the presidential race remained to be a tight one.
Binay’s campaign spokesperson Rico Quicho said the survey showed that Binay and three of his rivals were statistically tied “if you look at the margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percent.”
“The challenge for us is to step up our visits to the provinces and reach out to more people,” Quicho said, adding how elated they were at the way people continue to welcome Binay in his campaign sorties.
The survey covered 4,000 respondents who are registered voters 18 years old and above and used a margin of error of plus-or-minus 1.5 percentage points.
Five percent of those surveyed said they don’t know, refused to answer, were undecided and have no candidate for President.
Six percent said they don’t know, refused to answer or have no alternate candidate for Vice President.
Pulse Asia asked the respondents, “If the coming 2016 elections were held today, whom would you vote for as President of the Philippines?”
The top choices of respondents from Metro Manila were Poe (30 percent), Duterte (29 percent) and Binay (23 percent).
With 34 percent, Poe scored the highest voter preference in Luzon outside Metro Manila while Roxas, with 36 percent, led in the Visayas.
Duterte was most favored in Mindanao (46 percent) and among Class ABC (35 percent).
Poe and Duterte score almost the same voter preferences among Class D respondents, 26 percent and 25, respectively.
Among Class E, four candidates virtually had the same voter preferences—Poe (27 percent), Binay (25 percent), Duterte (23 percent), and Roxas (21 percent).
The respondents were also asked, “If your chosen candidate does not pursue his/her candidacy for whatever reason, whom among the remaining people would you vote for as President of the Philippines if the 2016 elections were today?”
Poe was the top second choice of voters with 30 percent, followed by Binay with 19 percent, Roxas with 14 percent , Duterte with 13 percent, Santiago with 7 percent. For 16 percent of the respondents, they either said they don’t know, refused to answer or have no alternate candidate.
Among those whose first choice was Poe, 27 percent picked Binay as their alternate while 25 percent said they would support Roxas if Poe ends up not running in the coming elections.
Poe was the second choice for President of 45 percent of Binay’s original supporters. Similarly, 38 percent of those whose first choice was Roxas said they would support Poe in case the former interior secretary does not pursue his candidacy.
Poe was also the alternative candidate of 34 percent of Santiago’s original supporters and 33 percent of those whose first choice was Duterte.
In Metro Manila, Luzon outside Metro Manila and among Class D, Marcos and Escudero enjoyed basically the same voter preferences, ranging from 25 percent to 35 percent.
Robredo led in the Visayas with 34 percent while Marcos, with 31 percent, was most favored among Class ABC.
In Mindanao and among Class E, Cayetano, Escudero, Robredo and Marcos have essentially or exactly the same voter preferences, ranging from 17 percent to 24 percent.
Escudero was the leading second-choice candidate with 26 percent, followed by Marcos (16 percent), Cayetano (15 percent), Robredo (13 percent), Trillanes (7 percent) and Honasan (6 percent). The rest of the respondents (16 percent) did not identify an alternative candidate. Inquirer Research with reports from Marlon Ramos, Gil C. Cabacungan and Christine Avendaño
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