Survey says: How 2019 senatorial bets are faring so far
MANILA, Philippines – The campaign period for national candidates for the 2019 midterm elections will begin in February, but many senatorial aspirants have started making the rounds on social media and on the ground already, in the hopes of catching voters' attention early on.
The Pulse Asia survey in December, the first one after the filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COCs) in October, showed that some bets are already in the lead, others are gaining ground, while the rest still have to catch up if they want to be in the winning circle.
So far, Pulse Asia has conducted senatorial preference surveys for the 2019 polls in March, June, September and December 2018. (There was a reported survey by Social Weather Stations also in December 2018, which could have been leaked as results are not yet available on its website. We consider the leaked results unofficial.)
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.
Consistently landing in the top are 5 of the 7 reelectionist senators: Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, Nancy Binay, and Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.
Poe has so far pulled away from everyone else in all surveys, but Villar seems to be gaining steam. Villar breached the 60% mark in the December 2018 survey when she garnered 66.6%, up by nearly 9 percentage points from September.
Angara also shot up in the December survey, gaining over 21 points from 37.1% to 58.5% to put him in 3rd place. Meanwhile, Binay and Pimentel are seen to place between 5th and 7th places, with 46.7% and 45.5%, respectively.
Many ex-senators are also performing well in their comeback bids: Pia Cayetano and Lito Lapid (who both placed ahead of Binay and Pimentel in the December survey), Sergio Osmeña III, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr, Jinggoy Estrada, and Manuel "Mar" Roxas II. All of them have received ratings above 25% in the 4 Pulse Asia surveys.
Two new names in the Senate race are joining the strong performers: Ilocos Norte Governor Maria Imelda "Imee" Marcos, and former Bureau of Corrections director general and former Philippine National Police chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa.
Meanwhile, the two remaining reelectionists are teetering on the edge of the Magic 12: Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito and Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV.
Ejercito has ranked at the bottom of prospective Magic 12 placers in the 4 surveys, getting only a 26.7% rating in September. From there, he earned a nearly 7-point increase in December.
Aquino was in and out of the Magic 12 in the surveys, returning to the 10th-16th range in December, after dropping to the 18th-23rd spot and suffering a 12-point decrease from June to September.
Among those in the Magic 12 in the December survey, Angara, Lapid, Pimentel, Aquino, and Revilla got the biggest jumps from September, while only Binay suffered a drop in rating.
The rest of the names – those with ratings below 20% – are a mix of administration and opposition bets. Leading them is former presidential aide Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go. His rating has gone up, in close range of the Magic 12, from 5.9% in March, to 29.7% in December. In a matter of 9 months, his rating increased by nearly 24 percentage points, or grew five-fold.
In the lead-up to the 2016 elections, Senators Joel Villanueva and Sherwin Gatchalian were in a similar situation: they had ratings below 10% up to the first half of 2015 in Pulse Asia surveys, but they gradually inched their way to the bottom of, or just outside, the Magic 12 range by the start of 2016.
Two other aspirants had preference ratings above 10%: former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino (at 19.4%), and former senator Juan Ponce Enrile (at 19%), who appeared in the survey for the first time, after the surprise filing of his candidacy for senator.
PDP-Laban. Go and Tolentino are also among the 5 senatorial candidates running under PDP-Laban, President Duterte's party. Among this slate's members, only Pimentel and Dela Rosa have placed in the "Magic 12" so far, while Maguindanao Congressman Zajid "Toto" Mangudadatu received only 5.5% in December, up from 2.2% in September.
LP. The performance of the opposition Liberal Party's 8 Senate bets has not been auspicious so far. Only Roxas has consistently placed in the "Magic 12" while Aquino had just returned to that range.
The rest of the LP slate has not yet broken the 10% barrier. Their ratings in December have moved up by only a bit – getting almost the same scores as in their first Pulse Asia survey debuts. The biggest gainer among them was former Quezon representative Lorenzo "Erin" Tañada III, who improved by 3.4 percentage points from March.
In December, Tañada got 5.1% (up from 3.4% in September), human rights lawyer Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno got 3.4% (up from 1.6%), Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano received 2.8% (up from 1.6%), and former solicitor general Florin Hilbay got only 0.4% (up from 0.2%).
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, who made his first appearance in the September survey with 1.3%, improved to 2.1% the following quarter. Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc Tomawis, listed for the first time in December, received 1.3%.
Hugpong. Most of the candidates endorsed by the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) party of presidential daughter Sara Duterte Carpio are also doing well.
Six of the 8 members of HNP's slate with ally political parties nationwide are within the "Magic 12": Villar, Cayetano, Marcos, Estrada, Dela Rosa, and Ejercito. The other two are Go and Mangudadatu.
Among the 6 bets who are in HNP's longer slate for Davao region (besides the 8 in the nationwide slate), only Angara, Pimentel, and Revilla are in the "Magic 12" so far. The rest have yet to make it: Tolentino, former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, and reporter Jiggy Manicad.
Other bets. These candidates have also received ratings below 10% in December:
- Singer Freddie Aguilar (independent, previously filed under PDP-Laban)
- Agnes Escudero (independent, previously filed under Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino),
- Former Bayan Muna party list representative Neri Colmenares (Makabayan)
- Doctor Willie Ong (Lakas-CMD)
- Lawyer Lorenzo "Larry" Gadon (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan)
- Former interior secretary Rafael Alunan III (Bagumbayan)
- Former Manila councilor Dan Roleda (United Nationalist Alliance)
A total of 70 candidates were on the Pulse Asia survey in December 2018. – Rappler.com