MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay dismissed the results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showing him sliding down to 3rd place for the first time.
The opposition's presidential bet said his score of 35% showed that his core base remains intact, even if administration candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II posted an 18-point increase at 39%.
“I think the 35% is still my core group. These are the people who voted for me in 2010. They voted for [my daughter] Senator Nancy [Binay] in 2013. And depending on who does the survey, there are surveys where my core group is 33% to 35%, some have 25% to 30%. But here in SWS, my score is 30% plus so my core group is still there,” Binay said on ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda on Monday, September 21.
The SWS survey was conducted in early September, with the results released late Sunday. The poll showed that Binay's score was statistically unchanged at 35% from 34% in June.
The Vice President was statistically tied with Roxas as the survey had an error margin of ±3 percentage points.
Independent presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe remained the front runner at 47%, a 5-point increase from her June score.
Binay's camp has described his core base as voters from the socio-economic classes of C, D, and E. They are the people he reaches out to in his provincial visits, having been the first politician to declare his presidential ambition.
The Vice President has been going around the Philippines since he announced his candidacy 5 years ago. The self-styled candidate of the masses, he frequents wet markets and malls, and does boodle fights with local officials and residents.
Binay has a grassroots network of local allies which he developed through Makati's sister city program when he was mayor of the financial district for 21 years. He also has loyal supporters from organizations he has long been part of like the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, and the APO fraternity.
The Binay camp believes the core base is solid, even as the Vice President faces a yearlong Senate inquiry into alleged corruption, and various plunder investigations.
Yet in the SWS survey, Roxas was the biggest winner.
The rise of the standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party is credited to the announcement of his candidacy, and the endorsement he got from President Benigno Aquino III. Aquino's popularity was at its highest in 18 months in another SWS poll conducted from September 2 to 5.
The poll was conducted before Poe announced her presidential bid on September 16.
It was released ahead of the filing of candidacies in October for the May 2016 polls.
'Survey question influences answer'
Binay questioned the methodology of the survey, which asked 1,200 respondents to name a maximum of 3 people they believe should succeed Aquino.
In other surveys like those from Pulse Asia, respondents are asked to choose names from a list.
“You should remember that in a survey, the question has a big influence. For example, if someone does a survey and asks respondents to give 3 names, you see, they are already cornering the person. And then the result would be more than 100%. So the question is a big deal,” Binay said in Filipino.
Binay admitted that he sometimes feel frustrated with the huge decline in his popularity, which used to be as high as 70% or 60%. Until June, he was the runaway front-runner in surveys but the corruption allegations brought his ratings down.
“Pagminsan-minsan, bakit yata ako bumagsak pero may kambyo naman, tataas pa iyan. Pangalawa, tinitingnan mo kung ang core group nandoon pa. May iba ang kandidato, bigla-bigla ang taas, bigla-bigla rin ang bagsak,” he said.
(Sometimes, I ask how come my numbers fell but I also think, that will still go up. Second, look at my core group, it's still there. There are other candidates whose rise is immediate but whose fall is also immediate.)
Honasan an option for VP
Binay and Roxas are under pressure to find running mates after Poe formally announced last week that she is running with her close friend, Senator Francis Escudero.
Binay again said that he is “very, very close” to finding a running mate.
His first choice is Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr but the Vice President admitted that he is also considering his partymate, Senator Gregorio Honasan II.
Honasan is the vice president of Binay's party, the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). The coup plotter-turned-politician has not expressed any intention to run for higher office in 2016 after finishing as the 12th senator to be elected in 2013.
Binay has another choice for running mate but refused to disclose the name, except to say that the third option is also male.
Last week, Marcos said he is still unsure about his 2016 plans. The senator got a 6% score in the SWS vice presidential survey, ranking third after Poe and Escudero. Marcos has the option of running for higher office or re-election.
With all the surveys coming out leading to the October filing, Binay said: “The real survey is the survey on election day.”
To cap off the interview, the morning show's hosts asked him to sing a song which described his attitude: “May bukas pa.” (There is still tomorrow.) – Rappler.com