Villar, Poe share top spot among Senate bets in Pulse Asia survey

Camille Elemia

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Villar, Poe share top spot among Senate bets in Pulse Asia survey
(UPDATED) The results of the Pulse Asia survey show voters' preference for Senator Cynthia Villar at 51.7%, slightly higher but statistically tied with Senator Grace Poe's 50.5%

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A month before the May 13 polls, reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar joined fellow reelectionist Senator Grace Poe as front-runner in the Senate race, according to the latest survey of Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated released on Tuesday, April 30.

The Pulse Asia Pulso ng Bayan survey, conducted from April 10 to 14, showed that if elections were held during the polling period, 51.7% of respondents would vote for Villar and 50.5% for Poe, making them statistically tied for first and second spot. Poe had been the consistent sole top choice in previous surveys.

Villar, a close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, is a member of the Nacionalista Party while Poe is running as an independent candidate.

“I am grateful for the trust of our fellowmen. Even if I do not have a party, we are still in the minds of many people,” Poe said in a statement in Filipino, following the release of the latest survey results.

Villar, for her part, said she was glad that voters appreciate her job-generating projects.

Of the 14 candidates with a statistical chance of winning if elections were held during the survey period, only Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV is from the opposition slate. Former senator Mar Roxas, who previously made it on the so-called winners’ circle, is just outside it now, with former senator Serge Osmeña.

All 7 reelectionist senators made it to the list of possible winners.

Here are the 14 candidates that have a statistical chance of winning if elections were held during the survey period:

  1. Cynthia Villar, 1st to 2nd
  2. Grace Poe, 1st to 2nd
  3. Lito Lapid, 3rd to 4th
  4. Pia Cayetano, 3rd to 6th
  5. Bong Go, 4th to 8th
  6. Sonny Angara, 4th to 9th
  7. Bong Revilla, 5th to 9th
  8. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, 5th to 9th
  9. Nancy Binay, 6th to 9th
  10. Aquilino Pimentel III, 10th to 14th
  11. Imee Marcos, 10th to 14th
  12. Jinggoy Estrada, 10th to 14th
  13. Bam Aquino, 10th to 14th
  14. JV Ejercito, 10th to 16th

Table from Pulse Asia Research, Inc

One in 3 voters with complete slate

Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes said that 5.2% of the respondents refused to bare their choices, 4.7% invalidated their ballots as they voted for more then 12 candidates, wile 1.5% did not vote for anyone.

“While the senatorial preferences of nearly 90% of Filipino registered voters who are likely to cast their ballot in the coming midterm polls were measured, those of the rest could not, as some voters refused to fill up the facsimile of the ballot used f or this survey’s electoral probe (5.2%), had their ballot invalidated because they voted for more than 12 candidates (4.7%), or got the ballot but did not vote for any of the 62 candidates running for senator in the May 2019 elections (1.5%),” he said.

Holmes added that with about a month to go before the May 13 elections, only about one out of every 3 or 35% of voters have a complete senatorial slate for the coming elections.

He said Filipino voters named “a mean of 8 and a median of 9 (out of a maximum of 12) of their preferred candidates for the senatorial elections.”

The survey used face-to-face interviews with 1,800 adult respondents. It has an error margin of 2.3% at 95% confidence level.

Holmes said “Pulse Asia Research’s pool of academic fellows takes full responsibility for the design and conduct of the survey, as well as for analyses it makes based on the survey data. In keeping with our academic nature, no religious, political, economic, or partisa n group influenced any of these processes.”

“Pulse Asia Research undertakes Pulso ng Bayan pre-election surveys on its own without any party singularly commissioning the research effort,” he added.

Issues and controversies during the survey period include the killing of 14 farmers in Negros Oriental, the continuing tension in the West Philippine Sea, the start of the overseas absentee voting, rotational power outages in Luzon, the Supreme Court order for the Solicitor General to submit drug war documents, and the viral video, titled “Ang Totoong Narco List,” linking presidential son Paolo Duterte, as well as other relatives, to illegal drugs. –

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.