Sarangani Representative and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao took a beating in the latest poll on senatorial bets conducted by Pulse Asia, suffering the biggest drop in voter preference ratings that nearly pushed him out of the winners' circle.
The survey was conducted from February 15 to 20, as Pacquiao faced a local and international backlash because of his controversial statement on same-sex unions.
Pacquiao's preference rating dropped by 12.1 percentage points to 34.8%, pushing him down to 11th to 14th places, the tail-end of the so-called "Magic 12." In early February, he was at 8th to 10th places with a 46.9% voter preference rating.
With the exception of Valenzuela Representative Sherwin Gatchalian (41.2% from 37.7%) and former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief Joel Villanueva (39.1% from 31.1%), all others in the winners' circle posted a decline in their preference rating – including front runner Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III (-5.2 percentage points).
The others who had lower ratings in the latest poll are former Senator Gordon (-6.0 percentage points), Senate President Franklin Drilon (-6.4 percentage points), former senator Miguel Zubiri (-6.4 percentage points), Senator Ralph Recto (-6.5 percentage points), Senator Sergio Osmeña III (-11.1 percentage points), and former senator Francis Pangilinan (-11.5 percentage points).
Despite their lower ratings, they all remain in the winners' circle.
Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes said that of the 56 senatoral candidates, 14 have a statistical chance of winning, based on the latest survey results.
Sotto, a candidate of the Grace Poe-Francis Escudero tandem and a guest candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance, continues to lead the senatorial poll with a 63.6% preference rating. He is followed by Lacson (60.1%, 1st to 2nd places), a guest candidate of the Liberal Party and UNA.
The other probable winners in the top 5 are Pangilinan (54.1%, 3rd to 5th places), Recto (53.4%, 3rd to 5th places), and Drilon (52.4%, 3rd to 6th places).
The rest of the senatorial preferences are in the table below.
44% of Filipinos with full slate
Pulse Asia's Holmes also said that with less than 3 months before the elections (when the survey was conducted), Filipinos are naming "a mean of 9 and a median of 10 of their preferred senatorial candidates."
"Overall, 44% of Filipinos express support for 12 senatorial candidates. It is only in Metro Manila where a majority figure is recorded (59%). In the other geographic areas and socio-economic classes, the percentages of voters with a complete senatorial slate range from 37% to 45% and 41% to 45%, respectively," Holmes said.
During the survey period, among the major issues were oral arguments at the Supreme Court on the disqualification case against Poe, the Zika virus global health alert, and the Senator Grace Poe-led Senate panel report recommending the investigation of transportation officials led by Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on the MRT3.
The nationwide survey, conducted among 1,800 registered voters, has a ± 2% error margin at the 95% confidence level.
Pulse Asia said subnational estimates for the geographic areas covered in the survey have the following error margins at 95% confidence level: ± 6% for Metro Manila, ± 3% for the rest of Luzon and ± 5% for each of Visayas and Mindanao. – Rappler.com
Mia M. Gonzalez is a senior desk editor of Rappler. She previously covered the Philippine presidency and politics. An award-winning literary writer, she is the author of Welostit and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the National Book Award.