Aquino's lead steadily falling: SWS chief


Posted at Mar 09 2010 02:13 PM | Updated as of May 06 2010 02:10 AM

Mangahas: C-5 issue hurts Villar in Metro Manila

MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) - The presidential surveys conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS) since December 2009 show a consistent decline in support for Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III, according to SWS president Mahar Mangahas.

In an interview on ANC's Dateline Philippines on Tuesday, Mangahas said what's clear from the four presidential surveys conducted by SWS from December 5-10, 2009 to February 24-28 2010 is that Aquino's lead is now much smaller.

Aquino's lead steadily falling: SWS chief 1

The latest SWS survey, commissioned by the newspaper BusinessWorld, and e-mailed Tuesday to news organizations by the camp of Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential bet Manny Villar, showed Aquino's lead down to only 2 percentage points, with Aquino at 36% and Villar at 34%.

"Ang talagang conclusion diyan ay napakaliit na [ang lead ni Aquino] compared to before. That's very clear," Mangahas said. 

Aquino's lead over Villar was 19 points in December 5-10, 2009, 11 points in December 27-28, 2009, 7 points in January 21-24, 2010, and 2 points in February 24-28.

"If you look at our series, talagang steadily, steadily paliit ng paliit. So ngayon, nasa 2 (point lead si Aquino)," he added.

Mangahas disagreed with interpretations of the latest SWS survey results which described the two leading presidential candidates in a statistical tie.

Given the margin of error of 2%, Mangahas said Aquino may actually be leading by 4 percentage points.

He said the correct way of interpreting the results of the latest survey is that it's either a statistical tie or that Aquino has a 4 percentage point lead. 

C-5 affects Villar  in Metro Manila

Mangahas also said another important shift in the February 24-28, 2010 survey results is the drop in Villar's ratings in Metro Manila.

In the National Capital Region, Villar's ratings fell from 26% in January 21-24, 2010 to 20% in February 24-28, a drop of 6 percentage points.

"Villar fell in Metro Manila, and the second-placer is actually Erap," Mangahas said. "It's Noynoy, Erap and then Villar in Metro Manila."

"So para sa akin, this issue about the C-5 could be said to have had an effect in Metro Manila. Because doon siya talagang nahirapan,  nahihirapan," he added.

However, Mangahas said Villar improved in the Visayas, which is why his overall ratings have been just steady since December.

"He [Villar] improved in Visayas kaya't medyo steady lang siya, at 1 puntos lang ang bawas niya unlike Noynoy who fell all around, in all parts of the country, kaya't nabawasan siya ng 6 points," he said. 

He refused to say whether Villar's ads were responsible for the NP's survey ratings, adding that the SWS does not monitor ad spending.

"Hindi kasama yon sa analysis saka wala kaming special access sa mga ganoon (ads)," Mangahas said.

Asked why Aquino's ratings have fallen since December, Mangahas said he does not have the data that would explain the drop.

"We do not know the progress of the ads in all parts of the country. We don't have those additional bits of information," he said.

Mangahas said the SWS will have surveys in March, April and around a week before the May 10 elections.

If the last survey a week before May 10 would show the same results as the February 24-28, 2010 survey, Manghas said they would then say: "Well, we cannot call the winner because it's too small but it's a two-point lead and we have to say that at this point, mas llamado si Aquino ng konti."

The February 24-28, 2010 BW-SWS survey used face-to-face interviews with 2,100 registered voters. It  has a margin of error of plus/minus 2%.

Aquino's lead steadily falling: SWS chief 2

 Villar, Aquino respond to SWS survey

Meanwhile, Villar said the results of the latest SWS polls are also reflected in the warm reception he and the rest of his team are getting in their sorties.

 “Mas nagiging mainit ang pagtanggap sa atin saan man kami dumako at mas lalong nagiging buo ang grupo ng Nacionalista kasama ang aking running mate na si Loren Legarda,” he said in a statement.

He said he has been able to spread the word about what they intend to do if they win the polls through their sorties.

Villar said they are getting more support due to their message of hope plus a better grasp of his team's platform of government.

He added he was happy with the survey results and expressed hope he would soon overtake Aquino, who holds only a 2 percentage point lead.

Liberal Party campaign manager Florencio 'Butch' Abad, meanwhile, said the results of the SWS survey showed that their message of anti-corruption and good governance is holding.

“The campaign of Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III is pleased with the results of the Social Weather Stations’ February 21 to 25 survey, which clearly shows that Aquino has retained his lead," he said.

“Despite our closest rival’s excessive, beyond-the-COMELEC-limit spending on TV ads and the obscenely funded propaganda machine, the people have maintained their trust in Noynoy Aquino’s candidacy," Abad said.

“What this survey tells us is that our message is holding and we must continue delivering that to places like the Samar Islands and Northern Luzon, where we see greater opportunities recruiting more supporters. For this purpose, the Aquino campaign intends to aggressively expand its volunteer base of 200,000 in these places," he added.

“Although the race has become tighter, we are confident that our message of change and freedom from corruption will hold sway in the end, and that the voters will make the right decision come the May elections," Abad said.