Frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has built a seemingly insurmountable lead in the second presidential survey conducted by Pulse Asia, the pollster’s research director said Wednesday, but Vice President Leni Robredo has gained nine percentage points from the last poll in what her spokesman said was the “turning of the tide.”
Pulse Asia Research Director Ana Tabunda said despite Robredo’s higher rating at 24%, she was still lagging behind by 32 percentage points compared to Marcos’ 56%, with three complete weeks of campaigning left before the May 9 general elections.
Although former senator Marcos’ preference numbers dipped from 60 percent, “his decline is not significant nationwide,” Tabunda said in an interview over ANC News Channel.
The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard bearer was “obviously not affected” by several issues being hurled against him, she said, adding that the “slight” increase of Robredo’s survey rating is not enough for her to catch up in the presidential race.
“No, because the increase is not enough,” the survey firm executive noted.
“It’s difficult to say, but there has to be a larger decline in the voter preference and larger increases in Robredo’s preference votes for her to be able to catch up,” she said.
But Robredo’s spokesperson, Barry Gutierrez, said it is now established the Vice President has the momentum that is expected to “intensify and accelerate all the way” to election day.
“The survey numbers are starting to reflect what we have been seeing on the ground all along: the massive crowds, the fierce passion, the untiring commitment of Filipinos from all walks of life, coming together to rally behind Leni Robredo’s bid for the presidency,” he said.
In the Pulse Asia’s March survey, Gutierrez noted that support for Robredo rose 13 percent among Class C voters, 10 percent in Class D, and 9 percent in Class E – the classes that form the bulk of the country’s 67 million registered voters.
“This 13-point swing going into the last two months of the campaign clearly establishes what we have long known: that VP Leni has the momentum, which we expect will only further intensify and accelerate all the way to May 9,” Gutierrez said.
“What we are seeing now is the turning of the tide. With the help of our fellow Filipinos, we will win this,” he noted.
Conducted from March 17 to 21, the survey’s results were released yesterday. It was the second done by Pulse Asia during the official campaign period for the May 9 elections.
The first survey was conducted from February 18 to 23, or shortly after the campaign period started on February 8.
The survey, however, noted that Marcos’ bid was supported by “near to sizable majorities” across geographic areas (48% to 64%) and socio-economic classes (52% to 56%).
“The gap between them is 32 percentage points, so if Bongbong Marcos loses 16 points and Leni Robredo gains 16 points. They will be statistically tied. So, you need a larger than 16 points decline for Bongbong Marcos and a larger than 16 points increase for Leni Robredo,” Tabunda said.
Robredo saw her rating go up from the previous 15%, putting more distance between herself and third placer Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, whose rating dipped from 10% to 8%.
Senator Manny Pacquiao settled at fourth with a 6% rating, down from the previous 8%, and Senator Panfilo Lacson got 2%, the same as before.
According to Pulse Asia, the 2,400 respondents were asked: “Of the people on this list, whom would you vote for as President of the Philippines if the May 2022 elections were held today, and they were candidates?”
The latest survey has a ± 2% error margin, Pulse Asia said.
Reacting to the survey, Marcos spokesperson Vic Rodriguez noted his candidate’s “strong majority preference rating at 56%” was “fueled by an equally resolute 53% trust rating as shown in the more recent Laylo survey.”
“Although 32 days remain before the national and local elections, we entreat our supporters, volunteers, and campaigners to refrain from complacency and remain focused in achieving our common target of 70% presidential preference mark,” Rodriguez added.
The Marcos camp recognized the overwhelming support of the people, as the Pulse Asia survey results clearly show, “but the challenge to make history shall remain kindled until election day, and even beyond.”
“We shall not rest until the 70 % preference survey polls position is attained, until every vote is counted, and the aspiration of the Filipino becomes a reality,” Rodriguez said.
As for the other presidential bets, Lacson said the survey does not reflect what he and his running-mate, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, are seeing in their own campaign.
“What we feel on the ground is different from what the survey shows. We just cannot explain that is so,” Lacson told reporters in Argao, Cebu as he continued to campaign in central Visayas.
The three-term senator cited his recent visit to Tagbilaran City, the provincial capital of Bohol, where he and Sotto were warmly welcomed.
The former national police chief said he is not disturbed by the surveys, and as he and Sotto will continue their direct engagement with the people.
For the Moreno camp, Aksyon Demokratiko chairman Ernest Ramel said it is unfair to characterize the latest survey as a two-way fight in a message to reporters.
“On the contrary, it will be a 3-way race as evidenced by Mayor Isko being the top 2nd choice,” Ramel said.
“By Friday, we will discuss before the media a more recent survey done a few days ago that shows it will be a three-corner contest, with Mayor Isko having the best possibility to increase his numbers as the election draws near,” he said.
Among the key national and international developments that took place in the weeks immediately before and during the conduct of the Pulse Asia survey are:
• The first presidential debate, held on February 27 and hosted by CNN Philippines, which Marcos did not attend;
• The continuous decline in the number of reported COVID-19 cases and the placing of Metro Manila and other areas under Alert Level 1;
• The temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court on the Commission on Elections for it to stop removing campaign materials displayed on private properties while the high court was hearing the petition filed by Robredo supporters against the poll body’s “Oplan Baklas”;
• The huge increases in the prices per liter of gasoline, diesel, and kerosene; and
• The 36th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.
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