Noynoy, Mar top latest Pulse Asia survey
By Helen Flores
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – More than a month before the May 10 elections, Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III continued to dominate the presidential race, leading by 12 percentage points over his closest rival, Nacionalista Party (NP) bet Sen. Manny Villar, according to the latest survey by Pulse Asia.
Aquino’s vice presidential candidate, Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, also remained the top choice of a majority of Filipino voters, the same pre-election survey showed.
Aquino and Roxas said the result of Pulse Asia’s March 2010 Ulat ng Bayan survey is proof of the unwavering clamor for change by Filipinos.
Aquino obtained 37 percent voter preference compared to Villar’s 25 percent, while Roxas got 43 percent voter preference as opposed to the 23 percent and 19 percent obtained by NP vice presidential bet Sen. Loren Legarda and Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino candidate Jejomar Binay, respectively.
Aquino’s rating went up by one point from 36 percent in Pulse Asia’s February 2010 survey. Villar’s score, on the other hand, dropped by four points from 29 percent in the previous survey, Pulse Asia said.
Former President Joseph Estrada of the PMP stayed in third place with 18 percent, followed by Lakas-Kampi-CMD candidate Gilberto Teodoro with seven percent.
Bagumbayan standard-bearer Sen. Richard Gordon and Bangon Pilipinas candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva obtained two percent each.
The other presidential contenders received less than one percent of the respondents’ votes. They were environmentalist Nicanor Perlas, 0.3 percent; Ang Kapatiran bet John Carlos de los Reyes, 0.2 percent; Sen. Jamby Madrigal, 0.1 percent; and disqualified candidate Vetellano Acosta of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, 0.08 percent.
Nine percent of the survey respondents refused or remained undecided as to their presidential preference.
In the vice presidential race, Legarda and Binay are now “statistically tied” at second place, Pulse Asia said.
Legarda obtained 23 percent, down by four points from 27 percent last February.
Binay, on the other hand, received 19 percent.
Applying the margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points, Legarda’s rating may be the same as Binay’s, said Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes.
The other contenders received support of three percent or less. They were Bagumbayan candidate Bayani Fernando, three percent; Lakas-Kampi bet Edu Manzano, two percent; and Bangon Pilipinas candidate Perfecto Yasay, one percent.
KBL candidate broadcaster Jay Sonza received 0.5 percent while Dominador Chipeco Jr. of the Ang Kapatiran got 0.1 percent.
Nine percent of voters refused or did not indicate a preference for vice president.
Mostly on top
The Pulse Asia survey used face-to-face interviews of 3,000 adult respondents, higher than the 1,800 respondents used in the previous pre-election surveys done by the survey firm.
Pulse Asia said Aquino topped in almost all areas and socio-economic classes, ranging from a low of seven percent in the balance of Luzon (Aquino, 33 percent; Villar 26 percent) to a high of 32 percent for the upper socio-economic class ABC (Aquino, 49 percent; Villar, 17 percent).
In Mindanao and the lowest socio-economic class E, Aquino’s preferences (37 percent and 34 percent) are statistically close to the preferences of Estrada (in Mindanao at 29 percent) and Villar (for Class E at 28 percent).
Compared to the February pre-election survey, Pulse Asia said the voter preferences for all the candidates are unchanged given the survey margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.
The non-commissioned survey, conducted from March 21 to 28, has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
Pulse Asia said Roxas’ vote preferences are significantly higher than Legarda in the balance of Luzon (39 percent versus 25 percent); Visayas (51 percent versus 21 percent); Mindanao (45 percent versus 24 percent); Class ABC (54 percent versus 12 percent); and, Class D (43 percent versus 21 percent).
Registering a 40 percent voter preference, Roxas marginally leads Binay in the NCR as well as Legarda among the poorest socio-economic class E.
Roxas’ voter preference is unchanged from the February 2010 survey, while that of Legarda slightly declined, from 27 percent in February 2010 to 23 percent at present.
Binay’s support slightly increased from 15 percent in February 2010 to 19 percent in the latest survey.
Aquino again expressed his gratitude to their allies, volunteers and supporters, who he said are the reason why they remain on top of the game despite heavy spending by their rivals.
He earlier “thanked” the spin masters of Villar for further boosting his campaign by attacking him with illogical and ridiculous accusations.
Aquino said the charges, which range from his interest in a security agency to his having ties with the Arroyo administration, showed how his closest rival’s propagandists are scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Aquino laughed off claims that he profited from running a private security agency that operated during the administration of his late mother, President Corazon Aquino.
The LP bet said he was merely an employee of the firm, and even divested his shares in 1989 even if he was not a public official and therefore not required to do so, since he did not want the late president to be the subject of intrigues.
As for the presence of several relatives in the Arroyo administration, Aquino said they were already with the administration long before he declared his intention to run for the presidency.
He said that former Sen. Tessie Aquino-Oreta ran in the administration’s Team Unity ticket in 2007 while his uncle, former congressman Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, ran against Arroyo’s brother, Arthur, for the presidency of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
The LP said the continued erosion of support for Villar had virtually negated the billions he spent in radio and television advertisements since the last quarter of 2009 which boosted his ratings.
Villar’s current ratings are almost back to where he was in the December survey of Pulse Asia where he scored 23 percent as against Aquino’s 45 percent, the LP said.
Edwin Lacierda, spokesman of Aquino’s presidential campaign, said this was proof that the people were fed up with Villar’s propaganda of lies and transactional politics and that “Aquino is the only candidate capable of uniting the country under clean and honest governance.”
“The bandwagon of support has begun because the volunteers have dared to come out in numbers. Our message —there will be no poor if there are no corrupt —has been resonating. It is the only way to wake our country up from its coma,” Lacierda said.
“The people have realized that the Villarroyo tandem is no fabrication. Villar is the administration’s secret candidate,” Lacierda added. “The connections are becoming clearer everyday.”
Roxas’ camp said the drop in Legarda’s survey ratings came following her poor performance during ABS-CBN’s March 21 “Harapan: The Vice Presidential Debate,” where live audience, television viewers and online users said she was the least believable among the vice presidential candidates in the May 10 elections.
In the same debate, viewers rated Roxas as the most believable candidate.
Binay, meantime, said he is the biggest gainer among all the vice presidential candidates, with his voter support increasing from 15 percent in February to 19 percent in March.
He said it reinforces the results of the SWS-BusinessWorld survey conducted last March 19-22 that showed his ratings going up to 21 percent from 17 percent in February.
“People are realizing that only good and effective governance and not political promises can solve the worsening poverty in our country,” Binay said. – With Aurea Calica, Jose Rodel Clapano