MANILA, Philippines - The vice-presidential election could go down to the wire, based on the partial results of an exit poll conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS).
Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay and Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas ended up tied in the SWS exit poll sponsored by TV5 and conducted in cooperation with the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG).
The partial results of the exit poll, uploaded on the SWS website on Tuesday, had Binay and Roxas in a dead heat, with both getting 40% support from respondents.
Sen. Loren Legarda came in third with 10%, Bayani Fernando was fourth with 3%, Edu Manzano and Perfecto Yasay were tied for 5th place with 2% each. Dominador Chipeco and Jose Sonza got less than 1%.
In a press conference Tuesday, Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino said the initial results from the Comelec's partial tally do not include Roxas' bailiwicks, so they expect him catch up with Binay.
As of Tuesday morning, Binay was ahead by around 800,000 votes.
Role of Muslims, Iglesia
If the vice-presidential race will be determined by voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) where special elections will be held as a result of failed polls in several towns, then Roxas is in trouble.
Based on religion, the SWS exit poll showed that 45% of Muslims chose Binay, while only 17% picked Roxas. Legarda was chosen by 28% of Muslims.
Roxas took a strong stand against the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), which would have granted Muslims ancestral domain rights over large tracts of land and water in Muslim Mindanao.
If Roxas is eventually declared the next vice-president, he can thank the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) for his slim victory.
The Iglesia vote
According to the exit poll, 75% of INC members voted for Roxas, an indication of the power of INC leader Eduardo Manalo over his flock. The INC accounts for around 3% of registered voters. The INC endorsed the Liberal Party tandem.
To show how weak the Catholic vote is, only 0.2% of Catholics voted for Ang Kapatiran presidential bet John Carlos "JC" de los Reyes, who had been endorsed by several bishops.
A total of 44% of Catholics chose Aquino even if he was tagged by some Catholic organizations as not being pro-life.
The SWS exit poll had targeted a national sample of 32,000 with a national sampling error of below 1%. The partial results disclosed so far was based on 22,398 interviews at least 50 meters away from voting centers. SWS had aimed for 40 respondents per voting center.