MANILA, Philippines - Makati Mayor Jejomar "Jojo" C. Binay of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) has caught up with Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) bet Sen. Loren B. Legarda in the race for the vice-presidency but Liberal Party candidate Sen. Manuel "Mar" A. Roxas continues to enjoy a large, albeit narrower, lead.
The latest BusinessWorld-Social Weather Stations (SWS) Pre-Election Survey, conducted last April 16 to 19, saw Mr. Binay gaining four points to 25%, just edging out Ms. Legarda who lost a point to 24%.
Mr. Roxas's score, meanwhile, fell to below 40% for the first time: he was down three points to 39% with three weeks to go before the May 10 elections.
Mr. Roxas's score has been dropping since the start of the year, as has Ms. Legarda's although not to the same extent. Mr. Binay, meanwhile, has been gaining from last December's 10%.
The scores for the five remaining vice-presidential candidates barely changed: former Metro Manila Development Authority chief Bayani Fernando stayed at 3%; administration bet Eduardo "Edu" B. Manzano of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD lost a point to 2%; Bangon Pilipinas' Perfecto "Kidlat" R. Yasay was steady at 1%; Ang Kapatiran's Dominador "Jun" F. Chipeco, Jr. declined from 0.4% to 0.3%; and Kilusang Bagong Lipunan's Jose "Jay" Y. Sonza rose to 0.4% from 0.3%.
Reacting to the results, Mr. Roxas said: "I would like to express my gratitude despite the three-point decline. The results will serve as my inspiration to strive harder in campaigning…"
Joey Salgado, Mr. Binay's media officer, said the results showed momentum was on the PMP candidate's side. "There were political events that occurred after the survey period that were not captured. We believe that we have the momentum," he added.
Undaunted by their candidate's declining performance, NPC spokesman and Valenzuela Rep. Rexlon T. Gatchalian said surveys were not necessarily accurate.
"Surveys do not reflect what's happening on the ground. The support of the people to Ms. Legarda wherever she goes is overwhelming and that's what we believe," he said.
Ms. Legarda, he added, would eventually emerge strong in the polls. "Mr. Binay can have the second spot, while Mr. Roxas can have all the surveys. In the end, Ms. Legarda will emerge in the number one spot."
The SWS survey 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.
As in the last two surveys, the respondents were asked to fill out ballots which were then dropped into sealed containers, mimicking the election experience.
"Five percent of the respondents voted for others or were undecided," the SWS said. -- AMPD