Pulse Asia chief cites impact of pol ads
MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) - Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and Senator Manny Villar are statistically tied in the latest presidential survey of independent polling firm, Pulse Asia.
The survey, conducted last January 22-26, showed Aquino registering 37% of voter preferences and Villar getting 35%.
The survey has a margin of error of plus/minus 2%, which means Aquino's rating may be the same as Villar's.
The other presidential candidate with a double-digit preference is former President Joseph Estrada at 12% while other candidates registered voter preferences of at most 5%.
Aquino's rating dropped 8 percentage points since the last Pulse Asia survey while Villar's rating improved by 12 percentage points.
Across socio-demographic groups, Aquino led among Class D voters (40%) and voters aged 55-64 (38%) and 65 and up (42%). On the other hand, Villar is leading voter preferences among Class E voters (39%) and those aged 25-34 (42%).
Across areas, Aquino is leading among voters in the National Capital Region with 38%, compared to Villar who had 24%. The two front-runners register virtually the same preference in Balance Luzon (Aquino, 37%; Villar, 36%); Visayas (Aquino, 41%; Villar, 38%); and Mindanao (Villar, 36%; Aquino, 33%).
Based on a predetermined set of reasons, voters said they would most likely choose a candidate who is not corrupt or has a clean record (24%) and cares for the poor (24%). Other reasons cited for choosing a candidate are the ability to do something (16%), helping others (11%), being a good person (9%) and experience in governance (6%).
The January 22-26 survey interviewed 1,800 representative adults nationwide. It was conducted at the height of the Senate debates over the report of the Senate committee of the whole recommending the censure of Villar for unethical conduct in connection with the C-5 road extension project.
Aquino's camp earlier said they have a loyal base of supporters, and that Villar would have to win over support from the other candidates if he is to catch up. This recent survey has belied that theory.
Importance of political ads
In an interview on ANC's Dateline Philippines on Wednesday, Prof. Ronald Holmes, president of Pulse Asia, attributed Villar's gain of 12 percentage points to his "more sustained" marketing campaign.
He said this fact has been recognized by other presidential candidates. Holmes said some camps have complained about the 6 to 1 ratio of political ads in favor of Villar.
Holmes said this sustained campaign to get himself known has had a big impact on the public's perception of Villar.
Asked if Villar's gains were at the expense of Aquino and Estrada, Holmes said any erosion of support for one candidate may be due to withdrawal of support for another.
Holmes ruled out undecided voters as a factor in the latest survey, saying the increase from 4% to 6% in undecided or those who refused to say who they will vote for, is within the 2% margin of error.
Asked about the possible impact of the C-5 controversy on Villar, Holmes said the next presidential survey may show different a different result since it should already reflect possible changes in public perception of Villar following the Senate committee of the whole's report recommending his censure for unethical conduct in connection with the C-5 road project transactions.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile formally read the report at the Senate plenary on January 25. He accused Villar of trying to buy him off on January 26. Villar denied Enrile's claim.
Roxas leads VP race
In the vice-presidential race, nearly half of the voters (47%) would vote for Sen. Manuel “Mar” A. Roxas if the May 2010 elections were held at the time of the survey, giving him a sizeable lead over Sen. Loren Legarda who got only 28%.
Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay placed third in the vice-presidential race with 13%.
Vice-presidential candidates Edu Manzano and Bayani Fernando had 2% voter preference while Perfecto Yasay Jr. had 1%.
About one in ten voters (7%) did not have a favored vice-presidential candidate at the time of the survey.
Across geographical areas, Roxas leads the race in Luzon, including NCR, and the Visayas. However, voter preferences for the two leading contenders, Senators Roxas and Legarda, are essentially tied across the Mindanao areas surveyed.
Roxas enjoys sizeable leads among the upper socio-economic classes ABC (54%) and D (49%) and across the various age groups. Preferences for Senators Roxas and Legarda are essentially tied among Class E voters.
Holmes also attributed Roxas' big lead to his better marketing campaign.