Survey says: How 2019 senatorial bets are faring so far
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The campaign period for national candidates for the 2019 midterm elections began in February, but even before that, many senatorial aspirants already did the rounds on social media and on the ground to increase voters' awareness of them.
Since the Pulse Asia survey of December 2018 – the first to be conducted after the aspirants filed their Certificates of Candidacy in October – polls have shown reelectionists dominating the top spots, while new names are gaining ground.
So far, Pulse Asia has conducted senatorial preference surveys for the 2019 elections per quarter in 2018, then every month in 2019.
See how candidates endorsed or nominated by major political parties have fared in these Pulse Asia surveys in the graph below.
With only 12 Senate seats up for grabs in a highly-competitive field, getting into the "Magic 12" range is an indicator of a senatorial bet's winning chances.
Based on each aspirant's preference rating (or the share of survey respondents who said they will be voting for him or her), Pulse Asia projected the range of the senatoriables' ranking among all the bets, as a preview of the place or rank they will most likely land on after actual votes are counted in the May elections.
Five of the 7 reelectionist senators are consistently in the top spots: Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, and Koko Pimentel.
Before the filing of COCs, Poe pulled away from everyone else in all surveys, but since January 2019, her numbers have been sliding off.
Villar has placed second behind Poe in the last 4 Pulse Asia surveys. Villar breached the 60% mark in the December 2018 survey, when she garnered 66.6%. In the February 2019 survey, she was closing in on Poe – Villar got 61%, while Poe was at 67.5%.
Angara also shot up in the December survey, gaining over 21 points, from 37.1% to 58.5%, to put him in 3rd place. However, he lost steam in the January 2019 survey, falling to 48.8%. The following month, he improved a bit to 52.2%.
Meanwhile, Binay and Pimentel are still seen to place in the Top 12, with 40.5% and 35.6% in February, respectively. However, their numbers have gone down from the January survey.
New names in the Senate race are joining the strong performers. Former Bureau of Corrections director general and ex-Philippine National Police chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, and Ilocos Norte Governor Maria Imelda "Imee" Marcos have been part of the Top 12 since the surveys started in March 2018 (except in June 2018 for Marcos).
However, Marcos received a lower rating in February 2019 with 36%, placing her between 9th and 14th places along with Pimentel.
In 2019, former presidential aide Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go entered the Top 12, placing 6th-12th in January with 44.7%, then shooting to 3rd-5th place with 53% in February.
Before his entry into the Magic 12, Go’s rating went up from 5.9% in March 2018, to 29.7% in December. In a matter of 9 months, his rating increased by nearly 24 percentage points, or grew fivefold.
Ex-presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino also broke into the Magic 12 in February, with 32.1%.
Many former senators are also performing well in their comeback bids: Pia Cayetano and Lito Lapid (who still placed ahead of Binay and Pimentel in the February survey), Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, and Mar Roxas. All of them have received ratings above 25% in all Pulse Asia surveys so far.
However, Sergio Osmeña III was booted out of the Magic 12 in the February 2019 survey after receiving only 26.7%. Osmeña joins ex-Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who got 25.2%.
Meanwhile, the two reelectionists are outside the Magic 12 again in February: JV Ejercito and Bam Aquino.
Ejercito ranked at the bottom of prospective Magic 12 placers in the 4 Pulse Asia surveys in 2018. He was pushed out of the winning circle starting January 2019.
Aquino was in and out of the Magic 12, returning to the 10th-16th range in December 2018 after suffering a 12-percentage-point decrease in September. He maintained his position in January 2019, then was seen to place only between 13th-17th in February.
Among those in the Magic 12 in the February survey, Tolentino, Go, and Dela Rosa got the biggest jumps from January, while Estrada, Pimentel, and Binay suffered the biggest drops in ratings.
The rest of the names – those with ratings below 20% – are a mix of administration and opposition bets.
How the slates are doing
PDP-Laban. With Go and Tolentino’s entry into the winning range, only Maguindanao Congressman Zajid "Dong" Mangudadatu among the 5 senatorial candidates running under PDP-Laban is behind. Mangudadatu received 12.5% in February, up from 10.5% in January.
Liberal Party. The performance of Otso Diretso, the opposition slate led by the Liberal Party, has not been auspicious. Only Roxas has consistently placed in the "Magic 12," while Aquino was back outside that range as of February.
The rest of the Otso candidates has not yet broken the 10% barrier. The biggest gainer among them in February was Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc, who improved by 2.8 percentage points to 4.4%.
Human rights lawyer Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno got 6.9% (up from 4.6% in January), while election lawyer Romulo Macalintal got 5.7% (up from 4.5%).
The rest saw their ratings slip a bit: former Quezon representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III got 5.2% (from 5.5%), Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano received 3% (from 3.3%), and former solicitor general Florin Hilbay got only 0.9% (from 1.2%).
Hugpong ng Pagbabago. Most of the candidates endorsed by the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) party of presidential daughter Sara Duterte are also doing well.
Except for Mangudadatu and Ejercito, the members of HNP’s slate with ally political parties nationwide are within the “Magic 12”: Villar, Cayetano, Marcos, Estrada, Dela Rosa, and Go.
Among the 5 bets who are in HNP’s longer slate for Davao region (besides the 8 in the nationwide slate), Angara, Pimentel, Revilla, and Tolentino are in the “Magic 12” so far. Only former journalist Jiggy Manicad has yet to make it. (Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque withdrew from the Senate race in February.)
Other bets. These candidates have also received ratings below 10% in February:
- Former Bayan Muna party list representative Neri Colmenares (Makabayan)
- Doctor Willie Ong (Lakas-CMD)
- Singer Freddie Aguilar (independent, previously filed under PDP-Laban)
- Agnes Escudero (independent, previously filed under Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino)
- Lawyer Lorenzo "Larry" Gadon (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan)
- Former interior secretary Rafael Alunan III (Bagumbayan)
- Former Manila councilor Dan Roleda (United Nationalist Alliance)
All 62 senatorial candidates were on the Pulse Asia survey in February 2019. – Rappler.com
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