Poe regains solo lead in ABS-CBN Pulse Asia survey

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - The anticipated "bounce" in Sen. Grace Poe's numbers to be triggered supposedly by the favorable ruling she had received from the Supreme Court has yet to show.

The latest ABS-CBN survey conducted by Pulse Asia showed the neophyte senator reclaiming solo lead among prospective winners in the May 9 elections.

Poe got 28 percent in the March 15-20 survey, which covered 4,000 registered voters with biometrics nationwide. It had an error margin of plus/minus 1.5 percent.

But Poe's numbers were nowhere near what many of her supporters had expected—an increase of up to 10-percentage points—after she hurdled questions over her citizenship and residency before the Supreme Court.

Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Poe's campaign spokesman, offered no possible reason why Poe's numbers did not increase dramatically in the two Pulse Asia surveys conducted after the high court ruling.

Gatchalian instead pointed out that Poe "remains in the lead."

"We will continue to work hard to build on this lead. As we amplify our message, more people will consolidate behind her candidacy," he told ABS-CBN News.

But according to Ana Tabunda, Pulse Asia's research director, Poe appeared to have lost supporters after her citizenship and residency were questioned before the Supreme Court.

"These are possibly the voters who thought twice about her ability to lead the country sacrificially, possibly on account of the citizenship issue," she said.

"Or some of them might have thought she's not that sincere, possibly also because of the citizenship issue."

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who had 24 percent, shared the second spot with Vice President Jejomar Binay, who got 23 percent.

Administration candidate Mar Roxas was third with 19 percent, while Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago was at distant fourth with 2 percent.

Duterte was statistically tied with Poe in the March 8-13 Pulse Asia survey, which was also commissioned by ABS-CBN.

Duterte catches up, ties Poe for lead: ABS-CBN survey

The latest survey was conducted a week after the Supreme Court ruling. It also came shortly after the second presidential debate, which supposedly gave voters a better perspective on the candidates.

Binay came under fire over the delay in that debate after he insisted on bringing documents with him on stage.

READ: Row over rules: Why 2nd presidential debate was delayed

Despite coming in second and sharing the spot with Duterte, the camp of Binay is unfazed.

"Alam ninyo po, dikit na dikit po 'yong laban ngayon. Handa po tayo sa kahit anong scenario at kumpyansa po tayo na habang papalapit po ang halalan ay lalo na pong lumalakas 'yong ating mga kakampi at lalo na pong magpupursige ang mga talagang naniniwala at nagsusuporta kay Vice President Binay," said his spokesperson Atty. Rico Quicho.

Roxas' spokesperson, Barry Gutierrez, expressed confidence that their party's message of continued prosperity will eventually rise above "the slander and slurs that our rivals continue to spread."

"In the end, the truth shall prevail. We remain firm that our countrymen's support for Mar and Leni continue to grow, and they will be number 1 when the most important survey happens on May 9," he said.

BATTLE FOR METRO MANILA

In the latest survey, Poe (31 percent) and Duterte (30 percent) were statistically tied for the top spot in the National Capital Region, a major election battleground in May because of its 6.2 million registered voters.

Poe was the clear winner in the rest of Luzon with 35 percent, while Roxas was the top choice in the Visayas with 37 percent. Duterte led Mindanao with 43 percent.

Poe (27 percent) and Duterte (25 percent) shared the lead among class D, the biggest voting bloc. They were also tied for first place among class ABC voters with 30 percent and 32 percent, respectively. Poe’s number was up from 22 percent in this voting bloc in the last survey.

Among class E, the top choices were Poe (30 percent) and Binay (28 percent).

SECOND CHOICE

As in the previous survey, Poe stood to benefit the most if any of the other presidential candidates quit the race.

Among those whose first choice was Binay, 39 percent would vote for Poe if he would opt not to run. She would also get the same percentage of votes among those whose first choice is Roxas, if he would no longer pursue his candidacy.

If Duterte would not run anymore, 33 percent of his votes would go to Poe. Twenty eight percent of Santiago’s votes would settle for Poe if Santiago no longer pursued her candidacy.

If Poe abandoned her presidential ambition, most of her votes (25 percent) would go to Binay, 22 percent to Roxas, and 20 percent to Duterte. Twelve percent of those voters said they would vote for no other candidate.

Among Roxas' voters, 18 percent also said they would not go for another candidate should he decide not to run.

TIE FOR VP

The vice-presidential race remained a close fight, especially between Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sen. Francis Escudero, who were tied at first place with 25 percent apiece.

But Marcos established a commanding lead in vote-rich Metro Manila with 41 percent. Escudero was a distant second with 23 percent.

"It's really interesting because NCR, for the past elections, had really been supportive of Chiz (Escudero)," Tabunda said. "It's the first time they are not tied in NCR."

In the nationwide survey, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo trailed Marcos and Escudero with 21 percent, followed by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano with 14 percent. Sen. Gregorio Honasan had 5 percent, while Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV got 4 percent.

With his improving numbers, Marcos expressed confidence that he will win the seat of the second highest post in the land.

"Chances are good. Otherwise, I will not be here. Talking to our leaders and to our allies, maganda ang tsansa," he said. "I'm confident that we are on the right direction."

Robredo, for her part, was elated over the latest survey results, noting that she started with only 1-percent voter support against frontrunner Escudero's 44 percent.

"Pero ngayon, 40 days before the elections, four points na lang ang mahahabol kaya inspired tayo at hopeful na magiging maganda ang resulta," she said.

Robredo took the Visayas (34 percent). Marcos and Escudero were tied in the rest of Luzon with 32 percent and 29 percent, respectively. Cayetano topped Mindanao with 28 percent.

Cayetano said he believes his and Duterte's numbers will further improve as the elections near.

"Consistent kami sa aming status na mabagal man tumaas ay nakukuha naman po namin ang tunay na problema ng mga tao at yung style na ronda serye na dialogue with the different sectors. So kung makikita mo, at least in the case of Mayor Duterte, halos tie na for number 1. Ako naman ay nag-number 1 na sa Mindanao for the last two surveys. We're gaining naman sa Visayas," he said.

SENATORIAL RACE

In the senatorial race, seven administration candidates would make it to the Magic 12 if elections were held within the March 15-20 survey.

They were Senate President Franklin Drilon, former Sen. Francis Pangilinan, former Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Risa Hontiveros, Joel Villanueva, Leila De Lima, and Sen. Ralph Recto.

Sen. Vicente Sotto III, who belongs to Poe’s ticket, shared the lead with Drilon.

Others in the winning circle were former Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Richard Gordon, Rep. Manny Pacquiao, and Sen. Sergio OsmeƱa III.

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