If the May 2010 presidential elections were held today, it would be a close race among Vice President Noli de Castro, Senator Francis Escudero, former President Joseph Estrada, and Senator Manuel Villar, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey.
Based on the February 2009 Nationwide Survey on the May 2010 elections, these four politicians "enjoyed nearly the same overall voter preferences," Pulse Asia Chief Research Fellow Dr. Ana Maria Tabunda said in the firm's March 12 media release.
In the February 2 to 15 natiowide survey of 1,200 representative adults, respondents were asked who among 9 politicians on the list were their first choice for president.
De Castro was the first choice with 19%, followed closely by Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero with 17%, former President Joseph Estrada with 16%, and Senator Manuel "Manny" Villar Jr. with 15%.
"No clear winner would emerge in the presidential race if the May 2010 elections were held today," the polling firm said.
Escudero beat de Castro in vote-rich Metro Manila with 27% while De Castro got 14%, Estrada got 13%, and Villar got 12%.
Escudero, who becomes eligible for the presidential race in October, gained 2% since the October 2008 Pulse Asia survey while Villar dropped 2%.
Behind the top four preferences for president were Senators Loren Legarda (12%), Mar Roxas (8%), and Panfilo Lacson (6%).
At the bottom were Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay (2%) and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando (1%).
The survey has a margin of error of plus/minus 3%.
Escudero tops VP race
If Escudero opted to run for the vice-presidency, he would have a good shot at winning if the elections were held today. He came on top with 26 percent, followed by Legarda with 22 percent.
"The two legislators enjoy nearly the same levels of electoral support in the rest of Luzon, Visays and Mindanao," the survey firm said.
Following the two senators in the vice presidential race were de Castro, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, and Senator Francis Pangilinan.
Race for 12 Senate seats
Pulse Asia, meanwhile, said out of the 65 personalities cited by respondents for the senatorial race, 16 have a "statistical chance" of winning in the elections.
Leading the "senatoriables" in February 2009 survey were Jinggoy Estrada (52%), Pia Cayetano (48%), Roxas (48%), Miriam Defensor-Santiago (47%), and Franklin Drilon (42%).
The other probable senatorial winners, if the polls were held today, would be Jamby Madrigal (38%), Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. (37%), Aquilino "Koko" Pimental Jr. (36%), Ralph Recto (35%), Sergio Osmeña (33%), Edu Manzano (33%), Tito Sotto (31%), Korina Sanchez (28%), Juan Ponce Enrile (27%), Jejomar Binay (27%), and Richard Gordon (26%).
Trouble if 2010 polls not held
The survey said a majority of Filipinos or 65 percent of the respondents believes there's a big possibility that the elections will push through as scheduled.
Pulse Asia said this a "sentiment shared by small to big majorities (55% to 76%) across geographic areas and socio-economic classes."
It said a bare majority of Filipinos or 51 percent believes that the postponement of the May 2010 elections would mean trouble for the country.
The survey showed that only 27 percent believe postponing the elections will not cause trouble, while 21 percent are "ambivalent on the matter."