43% of Filipino voters have complete Senate slate – Pulse Asia

Camille Elemia
43% of Filipino voters have complete Senate slate – Pulse Asia
(UPDATED) Senator Grace Poe retains her solo lead in the December 2018 survey, with Senator Cynthia Villar following her closely 5 months before the midterm elections

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Five months before the midterm elections, a “big plurality” or 43% of Filipinos voters have a complete list of preferred senatorial candidates, according to the results of a Pulse Asia, Incorporated survey held in December but released only on Wednesday, January 9.

Based on Pulse Asia’s Nationwide Survey on the May 2019 Senatorial Elections held from December 14 to 21, 2018, 2.2% of registered voters refuse to identify their senatorial candidates, 1.6% said they were not inclined to support any of the candidates, and 1.1% were unsure of their choices.

“Filipinos are presently naming a mean of 9 and a median of 10 senatorial candidates (i.e., out of a maximum of 12) whom they will elect in in May 2019. Mean figures range from 8 to 10 while median figures vary from 8 to 12 across the different geographic areas and socio-economic classes,” Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes said in a statement.

The December 2018 figure is lower than the 55% recorded in December 2015 or 5 months before the last elections in 2016.

Holmes said that among geographic areas, “it is only in Mindanao where more than half of registered voters (52%) have already identified the 12 senatorial bets they will vote for in the midterm elections.”

Among socio-economic classes, those in the poorest class E have the highest number of voters with a complete Senate slate as of December 2018, at 49%.

Among geographical areas, the number of voters with a complete list of senatorial preferences is lowest in Balance Luzon at 36%; and among socio-economic classes, the well-off class ABC at 37%.

Reelectionist, former senators lead pack

Reelectionist and former senators continued to dominate the so-called winning circle in the December 2018 survey.

Of the 15 names, only Ilocos Governor Imee Marcos and former Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald dela Rosa have no previous experience in the Senate.  There were also only two opposition candidates who made it on the list.

Senator Grace Poe retained her solo lead, with 75.6% of respondents voting for her.

In solo second place is Senator Cynthia Villar, with an overall voter preference of 66.6%.

Senator Juan Edgardo Angara (58.5%) and Taguig City Representative Pia Cayetano (55.4%), a former senator, shared the 3rd and 4th spots.

Former senator Lito Lapid (49.8%), Senator Nancy Binay (46.7%), and Senator Aquilino Pimentel III (45.5%) are in the 5th to 7th places.

Others in the probable winning circle are:

  • former senator Serge Osmeña, 8th to 13th places
  • former senator Bong Revilla, 8th to 14th places
  • Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos 8th to 15th places
  • former senator Jinggoy Estrada, 8th to 15th places
  • former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Chief Ronald dela Rosa (8th to 15th)
  • former Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) secretary Mar Roxas, 8th to 15th places
  • Senator JV Ejercito, 9th to 16th places
  • Senator Benigno Bam Aquino, 10th to 16th places

Roxas, Ejercito, and Aquino are not included in the Top 12 but still belong to the circle that has a “statistical chance of winning.”

Following the 3 are President Rodrigo Duterte’s close aide Bong Go (14th to 16th), former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino (17th to 18th), and former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile (17th to 18th).

The survey,  conducted among 1,800 adults, has a nationwide error margin of ± 2.3% at 95% confidence level while for the regions, it has the following error margins: ± 6.5% for Metro Manila, ± 3.5% for the rest of Luzon, ± 5.2% for Visayas and ± 4.7% for Mindanao.

The news that dominated the survey period include the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s finding that former First Lady Imelda Marcos is guilty of graft, its acquittal of Revilla from plunder chargers over the pork barrel scam, Congress’ approval of the third extension of martial law in Mindanao, reports of alleged pork barrel insertions in the proposed 2019 budget, and the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, among other issues.


Opposition is unfazed

Senator Francis Pangilinan, campaign manager of the opposition coalition’s senatorial lineup, said their bets are unfazed by their dismal survey numbers. The coalition has renamed its slate from “Oposisyon Koalisyon” to “Otso Diretso,” which translates to “Straight Eight.”

“We view surveys as guides to check if we are on the right track, but the desire to serve of our Otso Diretso candidates – Gary Alejano, Bam Aquino, Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, Pilo Hilbay, Romy Macalintal, Mar Roxas, and Erin Tañada – will see them through this election,” Pangilinan said in a statement. 

“We will not be discouraged. Our candidates will continue to reach out to as many communities, introduce themselves, and lay down their platform. The election is still a long way away. We are confident the Filipinos will be discerning enough to elect candidates who will work for the best interest of the Filipino family,” he added. – with a report from Mara Cepeda/Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com