MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero is the biggest loser in the Pulse Asia senatorial preference survey released last week.
From 65.6 points in the November survey, he dropped to 52.7 points in March. That is a huge drop of anywhere from 10 to 16 points, considering the survey’s 3-point error margin.
Escudero’s fall allowed Senator Loren Legarda—with 58.5 points—to take over the top spot in the March survey. Escudero is in the 2nd spot, while Transportation Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II is a far 3rd with 41.8 points.
Legarda and Escudero topped the official results of the 2007 senatorial elections.
The surveys were conducted using face-to-face interviews with 1,200 respondents chosen nationwide through scientific sampling.
What happened between November 2011 and March 2012? The impeachment trial, of course. Esudero is a senator-juror in the widely televised trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Escudero is a lawyer, and in the impeachment trial he would often stand up to invoke rules and ask “clarificatory” questions on processes. We tried but failed to get Escudero to comment on the results.
Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes is careful not to link Escudero’s drop to the impeachment trial alone.
“It is difficult to attribute the changes in pre-election preferences to the impeachment alone since we did not ask the impeachment questions in November 2011,” Holmes explained to Rappler in an e-mail. Among the prevailing issues in November were the arrest of former President Gloria Arroyo and the murder of former Senator Ramon Revilla Sr.’s son.
The decline and increase of pre-election preferences may be the result of two factors, he said. One is the “prevailing environment prior to and during the survey, with the impeachment trial hugging the limelight,” Holmes said.
The other is the “composition of the list of probable candidates.”
There were additional names in the March survey which were not included in the November survey. “Some people who generated significant pre-election preferences like Ted Failon and Kris Aquino were not included in the November survey,” Holmes said.
There are 6 re-electionist senator-jurors. Aside from Escudero and Legarda, they are Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Gregorio Honasan, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and Antonio Trillanes IV.
The only other senator whose survey ratings significantly moved in the March survey is Sen Antonio Trillanes IV. He improved from 28.7 points in November to 33.7 points in March.
Considering the error margin, the survey ratings of the rest of the re-electionist senators were stagnant.
The survey was conducted after the prosecution presented its evidence against the Chief Justice. Currently on break, the trial will resume on May 7. It is already the defense panel’s turn to present counter-evidence.
The senator-jurors are expected to decide before the sine die adjournment of Congress in June. – Rappler.com
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