Misinformation affecting Poe campaign : Pulse Asia

ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Misinformation is costing the campaign of presidential aspirant Grace Poe dearly, with some voters admitting they thought Poe has already been disqualified in the 2016 presidential race, a Pulse Asia official said Tuesday.

This is the explanation of Pulse Asia research director Ana Maria Tabunda on why Poe dropped to second place in the December 4-11 Pulse Asia survey of presidential candidates, allowing Vice-President Jejomar Binay to take the lead.

The latest survey showed Binay's numbers going up from 19% voter support in September to 13% support in December, or an increase of 14 percentage points.

On the other hand, Poe's numbers dropped from 26% voter support in September to 21% in the latest survey. Poe is now in a statistical tie with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is enjoying 23% voter support in the latest survey.

Former senator and Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas is at fourth place with 17% (down from 20% in the September survey) while Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is at fifth place with 4%.

Speaking to ANC, Tabunda said the survey was conducted after the Commission on Elections Second Division had ruled to disqualify Poe's certificate of candidacy over her alleged failure to meet the residency requirement for presidential candidates.

The Comelec's First Division also ruled on another petition to cancel Poe's COC on the basis of her natural-born status; the decision was released during the survey period. The Poe camp has appealed the decisions, saying the issue could reach the Supreme Court.

Tabunda said the Comelec rulings affected voter preference for Poe.

"It is not just the thought that she might be disqualified, Some of [the voters] are - they think she is already disqualified," she told ANC.

"There is some misinformation there. Some of them are confused. One example given by a field interviewer - one respondent was saying 'Hindi na kasi tatakbo si Grace Poe' so she was picking somebody else."

The Pulse Asia official said the Poe camp must be more aggressive in explaining to voters the status of the disqualification cases before the Comelec. She also said Poe is still doing well despite the misinformation.

"It is a question of - can she still regain some of that support [if] she is allowed to run by the Comelec en banc? Can she still regain those votes that she has lost temporarily right now?" she asked.

For his part, Poe spokesman Mayor Rex Gatchalian said the entire campaign team accepts and respects the survey results.

"It serves as an inspiration and roadmap for us to calibrate our next movies. We will keep on explaining to the electorate that Senator Poe has not been disqualified...Whatever happens it will go to the Supreme Court," he said.

HOW BINAY BENEFITS

In the interview, Tabunda pointed out that the developments affecting candidates such as Poe and Duterte have benefited Binay who has regained the lead in the presidential race.

Tabunda said the 14-percentage-point jump in Binay's numbers is big.

"Malaki po yun talaga. Kung matatandaan natin noon, siya talaga ang nangunguna pero may mga finield na ibang kandidato na unti-unting nabawasan yung voter preference niya. Kaso nagkakaroon ng kwestiyon sa pag file ng COC ng isa at disqualification ng isa pa. So parang, dahil may pag aalinlangan ang tao kung talaga nga bang makakatakbo itong iba, e may mga bumalik," she said in a separate DZMM interview.

Tabunda said Poe ate away at Binay's numbers after her name first cropped up in the presidential race. She said Duterte's entry in the presidential surveys also affected Poe and Binay's voter numbers in Mindanao.

"Kapag may nangyari sa voter preference nitong dalawa, mas madaling makinabang si VP Binay unless may ibang mangyari pa."

She also said that while Duterte might have received more support from voters since September, his cursing the Pope could also have affected him negatively. A Pulse Asia survey conducted last month showed that Duterte was the most preferred presidential candidate for Metro Manila voters until the cursing incident.

The new Pulse Asia survey showed Binay taking the lead with 30% voter preference among Metro Manila respondents.

Tabunda noted Binay also benefited from the relative silence on the corruption allegations against him, as there were more news reports on the issues against the other candidates.

She also said Binay has never stopped working to woo voters before election day. "Kayod ng kayod," she said.

Asked if Roxas could beat Binay in a one-on-one race for the presidency, she said: "Sa ngayon, may kailangan pa talagang ayusin sa messaging ni Secretary Roxas pero hindi naman imposible."

BALANCE LUZON IS KEY

In the DZMM interview, Tabunda said the developments ahead of the presidential election are too volatile to accurately predict who is the clear frontrunner. "Magkakalapit talaga sila. Kahit across surveys, they can easily jostle against each other," she said.

She also pointed out that surveys did not immediately show the last minute surge of Jejomar Binay in the 2010 vice-presidential election, or the strong showing of Antonio Trillanes IV in the 2007 senatorial election.

The Pulse Asia survey has a probability sample of 1,800 registered voters 18 years old and above. Tabunda said that instead of getting 300 voters per area, Pulse Asia decided to get sample sizes that are proportional to the number of voters in the region based on 2013 data.

For example, Pulse Asia got 230 respondents in the National Capital Region since Metro Manila only comprises 12 percent of the vote. The pollster got more than 400 respondents in the Visayas, since it has 22 percent of the vote.

The biggest sample size came from Balance Luzon, with about 760 respondents.

"The battleground is not Mindanao, it is only 22 percent. The real key is Balance Luzon, which is both Northern and Central Luzon and Southern Luzon that constitutes 44% of registered voters," Tabunda said.

"If you add the numbers of voters in Visayas and Mindanao, it is just Balance Luzon."