MANILA - Name recall isn't the only thing needed for a senatorial candidate to win in the 2013 midterm elections. According to Pulse Asia president Prof. Ronnie Holmes, a senatorial candidate benefits greatly by having an association with Congress.
Speaking to ANC, Holmes said there were no surprises among the 15 senatorial candidates who topped the recent Pulse Asia pre-election survey.
"The main contenders are still people who have been in Congress, more specifically the Senate, but I think 14 out of the 15 in contention have been members of Congress in the past," he said in a Dateline Philippines interview.
Holmes said that while awareness of the candidates is important, some of the possible senatorial bets with high awareness among voters were not included in the top 15 with a statistical chance of winning.
He cited the case of Vanessa Moreno Lacsamana, more popularly known as actress Alma Moreno, who has one of the highest awareness ratings in the Pulse Asia survey but placed near the bottom of the list of senatorial hopefuls. Only Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño and Ang Ladlad nominee Danton Remoto placed lower in the survey.
"Definitely the awareness of the candidates is important but even if we say it is important, there are people whose levels of awareness are high but they have not in any way occupied positions in Congress so the association with the institution is also equally important for the other contenders," he said.
"Alma Moreno or Vanessa Lacsamana had an awareness of more than 90% but...the people who do not support do not in any way think she would be appropriate for the Senate or Congress for that matter," he added.
Loren, Chiz top Pulse survey
Re-electionist senators Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero would easily top the list of senatorial winners if the 2013 midterm elections were held today, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey.
The survey, conducted last August 31 to September 7, 2012, showed Legarda topping the list of possible senatorial candidates. She currently enjoys the support of 67.3% of Filipino adults.
In second place is Escudero with 61.2%. Sharing 3rd to 5th places are Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano (49.9%), San Juan City Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada (49.9%) and Cagayan Province Rep. Juan Ponce Enrile Jr. (47.4%).
Pulse Asia said at least 15 out of 36 candidates included in the survey have a statistical chance of winning. The private pollster also noted that virtually all of the probable winners "are either former or incumbent members of Congress."
At least 10 out of the 15 top senatorial bets in the Pulse Asia survey are current or former senators. They are Legarda, Escudero, Cayetano. Antonio Trillanes IV, Gringo Honasan, Koko Pimentel, Richard Gordon, Jun Magsaysay and Jamby Madrigal.
One candidate, Zubiri, resigned from the Senate after he was identified as a possible beneficiary of election cheating in Maguindanao in 2007.
What's in a name?
Five candidates who will be running for senator for the first time have a statistical chance of winning in the 2013 race.
The 5 are San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito (3-5), Cagayan 1st District Rep. Juan Ponce Enrile Jr. (3-5), Aurora Rep. Edgardo "Sonny" Angara (6-11), Las Pinas Rep. Cynthia Villar (9-11) and Nancy Binay (12-15).
Three of the candidates are sons of former or current senators: Ejercito is the son of former President Joseph Estrada (who is also a former senator), Enrile is the son of current Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile while Angara is the son of Sen. Edgardo Angara.
Villar is the wife of Senator and former presidential candidate Manny Villar while Binay is the daughter of Vice-President Jejomar Binay.
In the interview, Holmes admitted that the survey identifies the younger Enrile as Juan Ponce Enrile Jr. and not Jack Enrile.
"It is the same name put forward in November last year since it is the name that he used to run for Congress and what he is using in Congress right now," he said.
He added: "I don't know how many people would know that Junior, the son, is now a representative and is different from the father who is the president of the Senate."
On the other hand, he said the new survey clearly indicates Aurora Rep. Angara by his nickname "Sonny" and not just as Edgardo Angara.
Holmes said that since the official campaign period has not started, there is still a chance for some senatorial bets to boost voter support.
He said TV ads could boost the chances of a senatorial candidate next year by giving out more information to the public on a national scale instead of going around the country.
"It is important that the more ifnormation is given or the mor epeople know about a specific candidate, the better the chances for the voters to expect preference and subsequently vote for a candidate," he said.
"It might be costly but it is an effective tool in terms of giving information or knowledge about the candidate beyond superficial awareness," he added.
Pulse Asia said that on average, Filipino are identifying 8 of their favored senatorial candidates for the coming midterm elections.
1 LEGARDA, Loren
2 ESCUDERO, Francis "Chiz"
3-5 CAYETANO, Alan Peter
3-5 ESTRADA, JV Ejercito
3-5 ENRILE, Juan Ponce Jr.
6-10 TRILLANES, Antonio "Sonny" IV
6-10 HONASAN, Gregorio "Gringo"
6-10 PIMENTEL, Aquilino Martin "Koko" III
6-11 ZUBIRI, Juan Miguel "Migz"
6-11 ANGARA, Edgardo "Sonny"
9-11 VILLAR, Cynthia
12-15 BINAY, Ma. Lourdes Nancy
12-16 GORDON, Richard "Dick"
12-16 MAGSAYSAY, Ramon "Jun" Jr.
12-17 MADRIGAL, Ana "Jamby"