Duterte tops SWS poll before cursing Pope

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte topped the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) poll on the 2016 presidential race, where his 38% is almost double the 21% of former survey frontrunners Senator Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The tough-talking Duterte officially joined the presidential race on November 27 after subjecting his supporters to months-long charade of indecision. The anticipation appeared to have excited the voters, with up to 38% saying they would choose Duterte if the elections were held immediately after his announcement, according to the poll SWS released on Monday, December 7.

It's a big jump for Duterte, who ranked 4th in the previous SWS survey conducted in September.

But the commissioned poll was conducted November 26-28 and did not capture the backlash he may have suffered after he cursed Pope Francis on November 30 because of the traffic that the latter's visit caused in Metro Manila. Duterte delivered the controversial speech during PDP-Laban’s formal declaration of him as their presidential candidate.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) slammed the mayor for cursing the Pope. “Vulgarity is corruption. When we find vulgarity funny, we have really become beastly and barbaric as a people,” said CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

Duterte said he did not intend to attack the Pope. "I was expressing my exasperation with the government. It's okay to receive visitors but you don't impose hardships on the people," he said.

The survey was commissioned by Davao City businessman William Lima. It was released by SWS following its publication in the Philippine Daily Inquirer

It appears that the survey, which was designed before Duterte's declaration to run for president, was meant to test his chances in the presidential race by giving respondents different lists of candidates. SWS released "List 2," suggesting the use of another list. 

The respondents were asked: “Ibang listahan naman po ang gamitin natin. Kasama dito si RODRIGO DUTERTE bilang isang substitute candidate sa presidente. Sa mga sumusunod na pangalan sa listahang ito, sino po ang malamang ninyong iboboto bilang PRESIDENTE NG PILIPINAS, kung ang eleksyon ay gaganapin ngayon?

(We will use another list. Included here is Rodrigo Duterte as a substitute candidate for president. Among the names in this list, who will you likely vote to become the President of the Philippines if the elections were held today?)

Senator Francis Escudero topped the vice presidential poll, with 30% of respondents saying they will vote for him. He is followed by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr (24%), Senator Alan Cayetano (21%), Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo (12%), Senator Gringo Honasan (6%), and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV (5%).

Almost double

Duterte gained a double-digit lead against Poe and Binay, who were each chosen by 21% of the respondents. Administration candidate Manuel Roxas II was chosen by 15%; and Senator Miriam Santiago, by 4%.

A total of 1,200 voters were polled nationwide, giving the survey a nationwide error margin of 3 points and regional error margin of 6 points.

Duterte was the top choice across regions and socio-economic classes, according to the poll.

He was chosen by 37% and 32% of respondents belonging to the D and E socio-demographics – the poor and the poorest which together compose 85% of total voters. In comparison, Binay was chosen by 21% and 26% while Poe was chosen by 22% and 20%.

Roxas was chosen by only 15% of D respondents and 17% of E respondents. Santiago was chosen by 4% of D respondents and 5% of E respondents.

Even the upper and middle class respondents (ABC) went for Duterte – a high of 62%. Binay got 16%, Poe got 13%, Roxas got 6%, and Santiago got 1%. They represent only 5% of the voters.

Duterte was also the top pick across the country’s three main regions. Up to 50% of respondents from Mindanao chose him, 44% of respondents from the Visayas, and 26% of respondents from Luzon.

Binay was chosen by 18% of respondents from Mindanao, 14% of respondents from the Visayas, and 27% of respondents from Luzon. 

Poe was chosen by 13% of respondents from Mindanao, 16% of respondents from the Visayas, and 28% of respondents from Luzon.

Roxas was chosen by 16% of respondents from Mindanao, 20% of respondents from the Visayas, and 14% of respondents from Luzon. 

Santiago was chosen by 2% of respondents from Mindanao, 5% of respondents from the Visayas, and 5% of respondents from Luzon. – with reports from Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com