MANILA, Philippines (5th UPDATE) – Vice President Jejomar Binay is the presidential candidate to beat in the latest Pulse Asia Survey released Tuesday, December 22. His numbers increased dramatically by 14 percentage points from the last survey in September, hitting 33%.
Former leading contender Grace Poe dropped to second place, sharing the spot with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who climbed 7 percentage points from the previous survey.
Nationwide, Binay – who faces a string of corruption charges and allegations of unexplained wealth – was the preferred candidate with 33%, compared to Duterte’s 23% and Poe’s 21%. Given the error margin, the last two candidates are practically tied.
The nationwide survey covered 1,800 registered voters with an error margin of ±2% at the 95% confidence level. It was conducted December 4-11 of this year.
Former Interior secretary and administration candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II got 17%, lower compared to his previous 20%. Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago got 4% in this latest survey.
In a statement released to the media, Binay said he was thankful for the support. "Mahalaga para sa akin na makausap ang ating mga kababayan, alamin ang kanilang mga problema at pag-usapan ang solusyon lalo na sa problema ng laganap na kahirapan. Higit kong pagsusumikapan na makapagbigay ng maayos na serbisyo publiko. Ito lamang ang sukling aking maibibigay, lalo na sa masang Pilipino na hindi ako iniwan."
(It's important for me to speak with our people, know their problems and talk about solutions, especially to widespread poverty. I will try more than ever to provide good publilc service. This is the only thing I can give, especially to the poor who stayed with me.)
He also said that May 2016 is a long way off and that he expects more attacks against his person and his name.
Poe has been battling citizenship and residency issues that threaten her presidential bid, and her candidacy appears to have been affected. From the May 30-June 5 survey of Pulse Asia where she recorded a 30% preference rating, she dropped to 26% and then 21% in this latest survey.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division on December 11, barred Poe from running in the presidential race, voting 2-1 to cancel her certificate of candidacy (COC). The Second Division had also previously ruled in favor of cancelling her COC.
Poe's legal team is expected to appeal the decisions all the way to the Supreme Court, which could decide on the issue during the holidays or early January. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno had vowed they would act swiftly on all election-related cases.
In a statement, Poe said of the latest survey results, "I respect the results of the most recent Pulse Asia survey. I will continue to use the surveys as guide to work harder, reach out to more people, and get across my platform of governance, where no one is left behind."
She added, "The disqualification cases thrown my way have created confusion among the people. I will hurdle this and prove that I am a qualified and legitimate Filipino candidate. Senator Grace Poe is still your candidate for president in 2016."
For his part, Roxas said what is most important is actual voting in May. "Nakita natin na magulo pa ito: noong isang buwan, si Grace ang una. Noong isang linggo, si Duterte. Ngayon naman, si Binay. Baka sa susunod, tayo na."
(We saw that this is still fluid: last month, it was Grace who was first. The other week, it was Duterte. Now, it's Binay. Maybe in the next, it will be us.)
Roxas added, "Ang mahalaga para sa atin, malinis ang ating record, malinaw ang ating plataporma at kung saan natin gustong dalhin ang bansa, at matibay ang ebidensiya ng benepisyo ng Daang Matuwid. Tuloy lang ang trabaho natin."
(What's important for us is that our record is clean, our platform and where we want to bring the country is clear, and the evidence of Daang Matuwid's benefits is strong. We will just continue working.)
Where they are strong
Duterte, who had been flip-flopping about his intention to seek the presidency emerged strongest in Mindanao, his known bailiwick.
In Metro Manila, Binay got 30%, Duterte 27%, and Poe 21%. The rest of Luzon prefer Binay (34%) and Poe (29%). In the Visayas, Binay (34%) and Roxas (27%) were the preferred candidates.
Among socio-economic classes, Binay is most popular among classes D (30%) and E (42%). Among the well off classes ABC, the preferred candidates were: Duterte (28%), Roxas (22%), Binay (20%), and Poe (19%).
In Pulse Asia's poll on vice presidential candidates, Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero was the preferred choice, getting 29%. Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr got 23%. The 3rd spot was shared by Senator Alan Cayetano (18%) and Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo (14%). – with reports from Ayee Macaraig, Camille Elemia, and Bea Cupin/Rappler.com
Chay Hofileña is editor of Rappler's investigative and in-depth section, Newsbreak. Among Rappler’s senior founders and editors, she is also in charge of training. She obtained her graduate degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism in New York.