MANILA, Philippines - Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III has gained a double-digit lead over his fiercest rival, Nacionalista Party presidential bet Sen. Manuel “Manny” B. Villar, Jr., in the latest BusinessWorld-Social Weather Stations (SWS) Pre-Election Survey.
The April 16 to 19 nationwide poll, conducted three weeks before the May 10 elections, saw Aquino gaining a point to 38% compared to a two-point drop to 26% for the Nacionalista Party’s Mr. Villar.
The lead between the two opened up to 12 points from nine previously in the BW-SWS survey of March 19-22.
Six percent of the respondents were classed as “undecided/others” -- these included votes for disqualified bet Vetellano “Dodong” S. Acosta of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan and responses that could not be properly read.
As in two earlier surveys, the respondents were asked to fill out ballots. The SWS polled 2,400 registered voters, divided into random samples of 300 for Metro Manila, 900 in the Balance of Luzon, and 600 each in the Visayas and Mindanao. The error margins used were ±2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, ±3% for the rest of Luzon, and ±4% for the Visayas and Mindanao.
The question was: “Kung ang eleksyon ay gaganapin ngayon, sino ang pinakamalamang ninyong iboboto bilang presidente, bise-presidente, mga senador at party list ng Pilipinas? Narito ang lista-han ng mga kandidato. Paki shade o itiman po ang naaangkop na oval katabi ng pangalan ng taong pina-kamalamang ninyong iboboto. (If the elections were held today, whom would you most probably vote for as president, vice-president, senator, and party list of the Philippines? Here is a list of candidates. Please shade the oval beside the name of the persons you would most likely vote for.)
Former President Joseph “Erap” M. Estrada of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino remained third with a two-point drop to 17%, while administration bet Gilberto “Gibo” C. Teodoro, Jr. of the Lakas-NUCD picked up three points during the month to 9%, still a distant fourth.
Bagumbayan’s Sen. Richard “Dick” J. Gordon -- who last week filed suit against the SWS and rival polling firm Pulse Asia over their presidential surveys -- lost a point to share fifth place, at 2% each, with evangelist Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” C. Villanueva, the Bangon Pilipinas candidate.
Support for the remaining three presidentiables -- independents Sen. Ana Consuelo “Jamby” A.S. Madrigal and Jesus Nicanor “Nick” P. Perlas, and Ang Kapatiran’s John Carlos “JC” G. De Los Reyes -- basically stayed unchanged at less than half a percent each, although Ms. Madrigal is now sixth, from last previously, at 0.3%. Messrs. Perlas and De Los Reyes both scored 0.2%.
Taking into account a March 28-30 SWS survey commissioned by San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, Mr. Aquino’s score was also up a point while Mr. Villar’s loss was a slightly steeper three points. Mr. Estrada’ score was unchanged while Mr. Teodoro was up a point. Both Messrs. Gordon and Villar stayed steady, while the changes among Ms. Madrigal and Messrs. De Los Reyes and Perlas were a tenth to two-tenths of a percentage point.
The April 16-19 BW-SWS survey showed Mr. Aquino the frontrunner in terms of geographical area and socioeconomic classes. (The demographic details of the March 28-30 poll commissioned by Mr. Zamora remain under embargo.)
The LP candidate’s one-point improvement, said the SWS, was due to gains of two points in the Balance of Luzon (to 37%) and one point in Mindanao (33%) that were offset by a four-point loss in Metro Manila (to 35%) and a steady score in the Visayas (46%).
Mr. Villar’s two-point drop, meanwhile, was attributed to a four-point gain in Mindanao (to 31%) being offset by losses of two points in Metro Manila (18%) and five points each in the rest of Luzon (25%) and the Visayas (25%).
Mr. Estrada’s identical two-point fall was traced to losses in all four areas: one-point drops in both the Balance of Luzon (17%) and the Visayas (7%), two points in Metro Manila (25%), and four in Mindanao (22%).
Mr. Teodoro’s gains, meanwhile, came via a five-point improvement in Metro Manila (10%), an extra four points each in the Balance of Luzon (9%) and the Visayas (11%), and a point gain in Mindanao (8%).
Mr. Villanueva gained a point in the Visayas (2%), lost one in Metro Manila (3%), and stayed steady in the Balance of Luzon (3%) and the Mindanao (1%).
Mr. Gordon lost two points in the Balance of Luzon (2%) and one point each in the Visayas (1%) and Mindanao (0.4%), but stayed steady in Metro Manila (2%).
“The vote percentages of Madrigal, Perlas and De Los Reyes across major study areas hardly changed from March 19-22,” the SWS said.
By socioeconomic class, Mr. Aquino gained eight points (53%), Mr. Villar gained five (22%), Mr. Gordon gained one (3%), Mr. Villanueva stayed steady (3%), Mr. Teodoro lost one (11%), and Mr. Estrada dropped by five (6%) in the ABC category. As a result Mr. Aquino’s lead over Mr. Villar widened to 31 points.
Among the class D or masa, the gap between the two frontrunners widened to 13 by virtue of Messrs. Aquino and Villanueva staying steady (38% and 2%, respectively), Mr. Gordon dropping one (2%), Messrs. Villar and Estrada losing two points each (25% and 16%, respectively), and Mr. Teodoro gaining four (10%).
In class E the gap narrowed to just a point: Messrs. Estrada and Teodoro gained two each (23% and 6%, respectively), Mr. Aquino lost one (32%), Mr. Villar was steady (31%), Mr. Villanueva lost two (1%), and Mr. Gordon (0.1%) fell by three points.
Again, the SWS said the scores for the remaining candidates hardly changed.
Sought for comment, Aquino spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a telephone interview: “The Filipino people has identified the issue of character, and they think Noynoy is the best person to lead the country. The anti-corruption sentiment is resonating and Villar failed to address issues surrounding him. We hope that we will be able to convince more people in the upcoming surveys with our good news of anti-corruption and delivery of basic services.”
NP senatorial bet Gilbert C. Remulla, who also acts as Mr. Villar’s spokesperson, said a lot of things had taken place since the survey was conducted. The party, he said, believes that Mr. Aquino’s lead has gone back to the single-digit level with two weeks before the national elections.
“We recognize that it is an uphill battle but ... a lot has happened and a lot will still happen. By no measure is this a sure win by any party. We have suffered continued attacks by both contenders and we are wondering why the concentration is on us, the number two, and not on the number one. Despite all the attacks, we are still very much in the running and that our supporters’ resolve has only strengthened further,” Mr. Remulla said.
Margaux M. Salcedo, Mr. Estrada’s spokesperson, said: “It’s not what we were shooting for but at least the solid base has stayed. We will just have to triple time to the finish line.”
Lawyer Mike Toledo, Mr. Teodoro’s spokesman, received the improvement as good news but said the party would rather not depend on surveys.
“We welcome any rise in the ratings of Gibo as shown by SWS and other polling firms. But as far as we are concerned, what is important to us is the kind of support that we are getting from the ground,” he said. - graphics by Lala Rimando, abs-cbnnews.com/Newsbreak