All voter preference surveys so far indicate that it’s a tight presidential race. With hair-thin differences between ratings, no one can truly claim to be leading so far.
But there are still ways to tell if a candidate is doing all right. In the February 24 to March 1 Laylo survey, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is “tied” at first place with Grace Poe and Jejomar Binay, with a rating of 24% to Poe’s 26% and Binay’s 23%.
Poe maintains her lead, however slim, but a look at the numbers show Duterte also did pretty well, if not better than his 4 rivals.
In fact, Duterte can be called the small winner of the survey because his rating improved the most. He has gained 4 percentage points overall since January whereas leading contender Poe has lost 3 percentage points, Binay gained just 1 percentage point, and Roxas and Santiago stayed where they were at 22% and 2%, respectively.
Duterte’s pattern of improvement is apparent throughout the survey. His numbers increased across all major areas, economic classes, genders, and age groups. He is the only candidate who can boast of such a pattern.
In fact, the only survey category in which he lost support is in Calabarzon, where his rating decreased by 3 percentage points, going from 16% in January to 13% in February. But for the whole of South Luzon or Bicol, Duterte still gained 2 percentage points.
It’s also in a Southern Tagalog region where he experienced the most dramatic increase in support. In Mimaropa, his rating improved by a whopping 22 percentage points, from only 6% in January to 28% a month later. Yet Duterte has not held any sorties in this region.
Closing in on Visayas
In terms of major areas, his biggest gain was observed in the Visayas, where Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II has always shown strength. Duterte improved by 6 points there, becoming the second most favored candidate after Roxas.
His second biggest gain was in Mindanao were his rating rose by 5 percentage points – from 44% in January to 49% in February. He remains number one in the region, home to his bailiwick, Davao City.
In Metro Manila, he improved by only 1 percentage point, and is second to Binay and Poe as the mega-city’s top choice.
For the rest of Luzon, he is at 4th place, but he still gained 4 percentage points in North or Central Luzon and 2 percentage points in South Luzon or Bicol.
Of all the candidates, he is the only one to have improved his ratings in all of the regions.
Top pick of the men
He has won in other fronts.
Duterte is now the top pick of well-off Filipinos or the ABC economic class, stealing the lead from Poe. He gained 3 percentage points here, whereas Poe lost 9 percentage points. He has 30% of the economic class’ support compared to Poe’s 21%.
But in terms of economic class, Duterte gained the most supporters in Class D where previously, he had been losing.
He improved by 6 percentage points, going from 18% in January to 24% in February. He is now their second favorite candidate after Poe, when previously he had been 3rd.
Duterte is also now the number one pick of males, stealing the spot from Poe. He and Poe practically exchanged ratings. In January, he had the support of 23% respondents, while Poe had 27%. A month later, he had 27% while Poe had 22%.
But for females, Duterte is only at 3rd place (21%) with Poe taking the top spot (29%). That said, Duterte still saw a rise of support from the ladies. His rating improved by 3 percentage points.
Though his increase in support has not been enough for him to dominate the presidential race, it shows he is doing something right.
The weeks preceding the survey saw him launching his presidential campaign from Tondo, campaigning in Pampanga, Tarlac, Tuguegarao, Tagum, Cebu, Bacolod, and all provinces of the Ilocos region. He also participated in the Commission on Elections presidential debate in Cagayan de Oro, where analysts say he “played it safe.”
Since the debate, the public has seen a different Duterte: one who curses less, and limits his flirting with women to kisses on the cheek.
It could be that voters have put his pope-cursing and womanizing tendencies behind him. But how to explain the amazing increase in support in Mimaropa where he is yet to bring his campaign? Even campaign strategists in Duterte’s team cannot explain it.
But Duterte’s rise could soon be stifled by the Supreme Court ruling allowing Poe to run for president. The uncertainty of her campaign during the time the survey was conducted could explain her loss in support.
Duterte has not lost time in reminding voters that even if Poe’s citizenship case has been settled by the High Court, there are consequences if she is elected president.
Another recent development, the SC ruling requiring the Commission on Elections to issue voting receipts, could affect the campaigns of all presidential bets.
If election day is moved, will candidates be given more time to make their case – or make costly mistakes?
A possible Duterte victory will depend on how well he can keep his numbers rising despite the changing political weather. – Rappler.com
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