MANILA (UPDATED) - Vice-President Jejomar Binay is now the top presidential contender for the 2016 elections, with three other presidential bets statistically tied for second place, the latest Businessworld-Social Weather Stations survey revealed.
The survey, conducted last January 8-10 with 1,200 validated voters nationwide, showed 31 percent of respondents choosing Binay as their likely choice for president if elections were held today.
The survey has sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
The latest survey result shows Binay topping the current crop of presidential bets. He was previously tied at first place with Sen. Grace Poe after both got 26 percent support from voters last December.
"The Vice President is humbled by the people's trust in his capability to lead our country. It will encourage him to work harder in order to demonstrate his actions to uplift our people's lives, fight poverty and provide employment," said Atty. Rico Quicho, vice presidential spokesperson for political affairs.
"He will continue to emphasize that our country needs an experienced and competent leader to work for inclusive growth that would ultimately benefit the poor who comprise majority of our country," Quicho added.
Meanwhile, Poe's numbers decreased by two percentage points, from 26 percent in December to 24 percent in January.
She is statistically tied with Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas with 21% and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte with 20%.
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago got only 3 percent support from voters while former ambassador Roy Seneres got 0.1 percent support.
According to Poe's spokesperson Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, the results of the survey will serve as a roadmap for their next campaign steps.
"We will see to it that we callibrate our next moves based on the data that came out of the survey. We will continue to advocate and drum up Sen. Poe's platform of governance that is based on inclusive growth - Gobyernong may Puso kung saan walang maiiwanan," he said.
The camp of Duterte, meanwhile, said they do not expect the mayor's numbers to improve as his disqualification cases remain pending before the Commission on Elections.
"Marami din po mga malalaking politiko who share the same sentiment -- telling us ayaw nilang ma-Grace Poe. Ibig sabihin, ayaw nilang magaya sa mga politikong nagpakita ng suporta kay Senadora Grace Poe ng maaga pagkatapos idi-disqualify lang pala ng Comelec. Natatakot po sila na baka naman magdu-Duterte sila pagkatapos idi-DQ din pala ng Comelec, paano na?" said Duterte ally Rep. Karlo Nograles.
"Kaya nga po, muli kami ay nananawagan sa Comelec, saan na po yung sinabi niyong bibilisan niyo pag-resolve sa DQ cases ni Mayor Rody? Paki-dismiss na po. Huwag na po tayong matakot sa kandidatura ni Mayor Rody.
"Ganumpaman, kami po ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa matinding suportang ipinapakita ng napakadami po nating mga kababayan para kay Mayor Rody. Ipagpatuloy po natin ang ating tiwala na change is coming!" he added.
Political analyst Julio Teehankee, dean of De La Salle University's College of Liberal Arts, earlier said many of the candidates running for national positions acknowledge the importance of the ground war or campaigning in the flesh and being able to actually shake the hands of potential voters.
He said Binay scored an upset in the 2010 vice presidential elections by going "back-to-basic, ground, grassroots campaigning. It's as if he treated the entire country as a larger version of Makati."
Now that Binay is running for president, Teehankee noted how "he has gone around the country several times, even in nooks and crannies that no [other] candidates have gone before."
Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, president of Binay's United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), said Binay had probably gone around the country more than any other presidential candidate.
"The difference is that while others are probably doing it because it's important for their campaign," Tiangco said, "this is who he is. He's used to this. He's comfortable doing it."
READ: Candidates focus on 'ground war,' not just TV ads
CHIZ, BONGBONG STATISTICALLY TIED
In the vice-presidential race, Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero is now statistically tied with Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
Escudero got 28% voter support in the latest survey, down from 30% in December. On the other hand, Marcos' numbers improved from 19% in December to 25% in January, or an uptick of six percentage points.
Liberal Party vice-presidential bet Leni Robredo is third in the race with 17%, down from 19% in December.
She is followed by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano (14%), Sen. Gringo Honasan (14%) and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (3%).
The latest survey also showed re-electionists and former members of Congress dominating the senatorial race in 2016.
Sen. Vicente "Tito" Sotto III dominated the race with 56% voter support. He is followed by former rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson (49%) and re-electionist Sen. Ralph Recto (46%).
Other candidates in the top 13 list are as follows:
Francis Pangilinan 46%
Franklin Drilon 43%
Sergio Osmena III 42%
Juan Miguel Zubiri 39%
Manny Pacquiao 37%
Leila de Lima 33%
Richard Gordon 31%
Teofisto Guingona III 28%
Risa Hontiveros 28%
Isko Moreno 28%