MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – Senator Grace Poe regained her poll front-runner status in the presidential race, according to the latest Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated survey released on Friday, April 1.
In the ABS-CBN-commissioned survey conducted from March 15 to 20, Poe obtained a voter preference rating of 28%, up 2 percentage points from her rating in the previous poll.
“Nearly 3 in 10 Filipino registered voters (28%) would elect Senator Grace Poe as the country’s next president if the May 2016 elections took place during the survey period,” said Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes.
Her running mate, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, has also topped the voters’ preference poll on vice presidential candidates, along with Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Jejomar Binay, the United Nationalist Alliance standard-bearer, were statistically tied for second place. Duterte’s rating is at 24%, down by 1 percentage point, while Binay’s rating improved to 23%, a 1-percentage point increase.
Administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, with a preferential rating of 19%, lost 1 percentage point.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago got a preference rating of 2%, down 1 percentage point.
Barely two months before the May 9 elections, 4% of registered voters remained undecided on their presidential bets. This is 1 percentage point lower than in the previous poll.
Regional, socioeconomic class preferences
Poe is still the top choice in the rest of Luzon with a rating of 35%, up 1 percentage point, while Roxas has kept his lead in the Visayas where 37% of voters favor him, a 1-percentage point gain.
Duterte remains the top choice in his bailiwick, with a rating of 43% among Mindanao voters though this is a 3-percentage drop from his previous rating.
Poe and Duterte share the lead in Metro Manila with 31% and 30%, respectively, both up by 1 percentage point.
The lady senator and the mayor also share the lead in the well-off Class ABC (30% and 32%, respectively), and Class D (27% and 25%, respectively).
The poorest Class E favors Poe (30%) and Binay (28%).
Poe still top 2nd choice
Poe continued to be the preferred second choice for voters should their primary candidate withdraw from the race (29%).
Binay, Duterte, and Roxas were next with essentially the same second-choice presidential voter preferences – 18% for Binay and 15% for the other two.
The latest poll results also showed that if Poe drops out of the race, Binay and Roxas would gain the most: 25% of her original voters would choose the Vice President, while 22% will opt for Roxas.
Almost two out of every 10 Filipino registered voters (17%) do not identify a second choice for president,” Holmes said.
The last day of the survey period, March 20, was the day of the second presidential debate in Cebu City. It was unclear, however, whether the latest numbers reflected public sentiment on the debate which began past 6 pm and lasted for over two hours.
Among the major issues during the survey period, conducted a week after the Supreme Court voted to allow Poe to run, were the joint motion for reconsideration seeking to disqualify Poe, and UNA’s defense of Binay following an Anti-Money Laundering Council report that he allegedly got billions of pesos from infrastructure projects while he was Makati mayor.
The Senate also began its probe into the $81-million Bangladesh bank heist during the survey period.
The nationwide survey, conducted among 4,000 registered voters, has a ±2% error margin at the 95% confidence level.
Subnational estimates for the geographic areas covered in the survey have the following error margins at 95% confidence level: ±4.6% for Metro Manila, ±2.3% for the rest of Luzon and ±3.4% for Visayas and ±3.3 for Mindanao.
Poe thanked her supporters and said the latest poll numbers will inspire her to campaign harder, especially after it was observed that the favorable SC ruling on her case did not give the expected huge boost to her ratings.
‘Yan ay nagpapatunay lamang na kailangan pa natin talagang magtrabaho at marami talagang mga bigatin din na tumatakbo. Ang importante naman sa akin ay maipaabot ko ang mensahe na tutulungan natin ang mga nangangailangan….Ang gusto natin ay malinis na gobyerno laban sa korapsyon,” she told reporters in an interview.
(It just proves that we need to work harder, as there are other heavyweights running. What’s important to me is to get by message across: help the needy, and a clean government that will fight corruption.)
Rico Quicho, UNA campaign spokesperson, said Binay’s rise in the latest survey is the fruit of the Vice President’s “direct campaign” strategy.
“Umangat si Vice President Binay, na nagpapahiwatig na may epekto ang pangangampanya niya nang diretso sa taumbayan. Kaya sa darating pang mga araw ay pag-iigihan pa natin ang paglapit sa mga tao upang ihayag ang kanyang plataporma para maiangat sa kahirapan ang ating mga kababayan,” he said.
(Vice President Binay’s rating rose, which indicates that his direct campaign to the people is effective. In the coming days, we will step up this strategy so he can relay his platform to lift the people from poverty.)
The Duterte camp said it is pleased with the latest numbers, especially in vote-rich Metro Manila. “Metro Manila and Cebu are battlegrounds and we are happy with our numbers there,” said national campaign manager Leoncio Evasco.
Evasco said, however, that the race remains tight, and surveys only serve as “guideposts” for campaign teams and are “not really infallible.”
“Everyone is within striking distance. The race is still up for grabs…The presidential race is nearing the finish line and we expect a shake-up in the voter preference as each candidate works hard for victory,” he added.
The Roxas camp remained unfazed by the latest survey results. “One thing is clear in the latest survey of Pulse/ABS-CBN: Our countrymen continue to make up their minds and the race remains close. As time passes, more and more people listen to Mar Roxas’ message of continued prosperity,” said Akbayan party-list Representative Ibarra Gutierrez, Daang Matuwid coalition spokesman.
“In the last 39 days of the campaign, our message will rise above the slander and slurs that our rivals continue to spread. In the end, the truth shall prevail,” Gutierrez added. – Rappler.com
Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story, there were some differences in our rendition of Table 3 with the one sourced from Pulse Asia. We have replaced it with the original table from the pollster.