Leni Robredo sets up showdown vs Bongbong Marcos
Attributing an element of destiny to her ascent as front-runner, Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo expressed happiness after topping a Pulse Asia survey for the first time.
“It affirms my feeling that even though this was never my ambition, I am now in this position because I was destined for it,” the Camarines Sur congresswoman told reporters in Quezon City.
The survey that Pulse Asia conducted from April 26 to 29 put her on top with a 30-percent voter support, gaining 4 points. She is now statistically tied at No. 1 with Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who slid 3 points to 28 percent.
Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, an early favorite, was preferred by 18 percent, unchanged from the previous survey. Following him were Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano (15 percent), Sen. Gringo Honasan (3 percent) and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (2 percent).
The survey, commissioned by ABS-CBN, interviewed 4,000 respondents and had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 1.5 percentage points.
Robredo remained the top choice in the Visayas, with 42 percent saying they would vote for her while Marcos is the preferred candidate in Metro Manila (42 percent) and Luzon outside Metro Manila (33 percent).
In Mindanao, the favored candidates were Cayetano (29 percent), Robredo (28 percent) and Marcos (24 percent).
Robredo and Marcos shared the lead in all socioeconomic groups.
Robredo, widow of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, said her rise to the top in both Pulse Asia and SWS surveys showed that the momentum was now in her favor.
“Of course, we’re so happy because before we were No. 1 in SWS but only No. 2 in Pulse Asia. But yesterday, Pulse also had us at No. 1. So the momentum is with us,” she said.
Marcos wondered what could have transpired in the two days between two Pulse Asia surveys that changed the results.
In a statement, Marcos said: “Surveys are surveys. They give a glimpse of the public sentiment at a certain period.”
“We want to know, however, what happened in the two days between the two surveys that made a 7-point difference,” he pointed out.
Marcos was referring to the two Pulse Asia surveys, the first conducted on April 19-24 and the latest on April 26-29. Both had 4,000 respondents nationwide.
Internal, independent polls
The April 29-24 survey showed Marcos on top with 31 percent and Robredo placing second with 26 percent. But the latest survey results showed Marcos dropping to second place.
“We have our internal survey and other independent surveys, which show that we have widened our lead to double-digit points from the closest rival,” Marcos said.
The only woman in the vice presidential race, Robredo said she owed her impressive showing to the LP machinery and the large number of volunteers who enlisted in the campaign.
She said she also felt strong support among women voters.
“As you have seen, women have become a predominant presence in our sorties. They act the most decisively. They do not ask for anything in return,” Robredo said.
She was also pleased by the rise of her running mate, Mar Roxas, now a strong second and in a statistical tie with Sen. Grace Poe.
“They say there are two types of candidates: Those who evoke hope and who bring out the best in people, and those who evoke fear and bring out the worst in people,” she said.
“I feel I belong to the first category in the sense that many people tell me, ‘You made us proud Filipinos,’ ‘You inspire us,’” she said.
Richard Javad Heydarian, a political science assistant professor at De La Salle University, said Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s lead in the presidential race was great for Robredo.
“She presents herself as the counterthesis to a Duterte presidency and it is working with some voters,” he said.
Heydarian added that Robredo had a slight edge because of the LP’s good machinery spread across the country. “Leni is change,” he said.
Jan Robert Go, an assistant professor at the Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines-Diliman, said Robredo benefited from the vice presidential debate and had effectively delivered her message to the public.
“She was able to build momentum starting from the vice presidential debate. The appeal of Leni is resonating to the public,” Go said. With a report from Jeannette I. Andrade/TVJ
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