Senator Manny Villar is the most "visible" presidential wannabe, a study by the University of the Philippines' Department of Communications said.
The study titled "Impression: The Importance of Media Presence On The Bid For The 2010 National Elections," focused on identifying key political figures as potential presidential and vice presidential candidates in the upcoming 2010 elections, based on their presence in media.
Villar emerged the most visible “presidentiable” with 79 percent of respondents saying he may run for office in 2010.
He was by Senator loren legarda who got 49%, Vice President Noli de Castro with 45%, Senator Mar Roxas (34%, Bayani Fernando (26%), Senator Panfilo Lacson (25%), Senator Francis Escudero (22%), former president Joseph Estrada (16%), and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (6%).
The study also showed that 15 percent of the respondents said they will vote for Villar, followed by Escudero at 10 percent.
All top candidates were seen most often by the respondents on television, which was the most used medium by all 681 respondents. Notably, the internet was hardly ever mentioned by the respondents when asked in which media they see potential candidates the most.
The Pulse Asia said that based on its February 2009 Nationwide Survey on the May 2010 Elections, the May 2010 presidential elections would a be close race among de Castro, Escudero, Estrada and Villar.
The polling firm said the four politicians "enjoyed nearly the same overall voter preferences."
In the February 2 to 15 natiowide survey of 1,200 representative adults, respondents were asked who among nine 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%). -- report by Michelle Orosa, ABS-CBN News