MANILA - Fifteen of the 33 senatorial candidates running in the May 13 elections have a statistical chance of winning if elections were held March 16-20, Pulse Asia President Ronnie Holmes said Wednesday.
Holmes, in an interview on dzMM, said any of the candidates who made it to the top 15 in the polling firm's latest survey are still in contention for the 12 senatorial slots.
"Mayroon kang inaaply na margin of error. Maaring gumalaw ang (numbers) ng partikular na kandidato. Maaring tumaas o bumaba batay sa margin of error na inapply," he explained.
The latest Pulse Asia survey, which has 1,800 respondents, has a plus/minus 2% margin of error.
The top 15 in Pulse Asia's March 2013 survey on senatorial preferences for the May elections are: Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Grace Poe, Koko Pimentel, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Bam Aquino, JV Ejercito, Antonio Trillanes, Gringo Honasan, Sonny Angara, Migz Zubiri, Jack Enrile, and Richard Gordon.
Nine belong to Team PNoy, while 6 are from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Holmes said he can't explain the differences in the results of Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) surveys.
A similar SWS pre-election survey held in March showed San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito-Estrada placing third to fourth place.
However, he only placed 4th to 12th in the Pulse Asia poll.
"Ang pagpili ng lugar, ito ang maaring makaapekto sa pagpili ng resulta. Hindi natin puwedeng ikumpara until parehong-pareho iyung methodology," Holmes said.
"Hindi ko rin alam kung ano ang ginaamit na metodolohiya ng ibang nagsa-survey. Hindi ko rin alam kung bakit nagkakaiba," he added.
Voters looking for 'new faces'?
Asked why former Senators Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Jamby Madrigal, and Ernesto Maceda are having a hard time, Holmes also said "old faces" in the Senate race seem to have no momentum.
"As a political scientist, it might really be a question of appreciation of each individual," he said.
In contrast, he cited 3 "new faces" who have a strong showing in the latest Pulse Asia survey.
"Sa 15, 3 diyan ay walang karanasan (sa Senado). Ang 3 iyan ay may pangalang pampulitika at hindi sila kailanman nakapasok sa elective position. Si (Nancy) Binay, si Grace Poe, si Bam Aquino," he said.
"Pero mas nakakaungos sila kung ikukumpara mo sa mga dati-rating nandiyan sa Senado o nagsilbi na rin sa Kongreso," Holmes said.
"Itoy'y mga bagong mukha. Pero may mga kritisismo na ang mga ito'y nagpapatuloy sa dinastiya. Wala tayong magagawa sa mga pangalan na dinadala," he added.
He also said awareness of a candidate does not automatically translate into voting.
This shows in the case of Madrigal, who has a high awareness rating but is not preferred by respondents.
"Iyung iba mababa ang awareness conversion ratio," Holmes said. "Iyung pagkakakilanlan (ng voter) , iyung appreciation nila sa particular individual will eventually translate to vote for a particular individual.
"Ang hindi natin alam, iyung extent of knowledge that people have on a candidate," he said.
Holmes said Escudero's much-publicized row with the parents of his girlfriend Heart Evangelista may or may not have affected his chances of getting reelected.
"Maaring naka-apekto. Maaring 'di naka-apekto," he said, adding that Escudero's numbers remain generally the same.
Escudero placed 1st to 3rd in the latest Pulse Asia survey. - with a report from ANC