MANILA – Political analyst Prospero de Vera on Monday downplayed a commissioned Social Weather Stations (SWS) poll that showed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as the top choice of voters nationwide for president in the 2016 elections.
De Vera pointed out the poll was just a ''rider question'' in a regular survey which asked voters if they would want Duterte to run and if they would support him.
He said the poll was done after Duterte declared his candidacy.
Jay Sandoval, SWS director for data processing and handling, said the survey ran when there was a lot of media coverage on Duterte's possible candidacy.
Sandoval admitted that the survey result that came out only shows the figures for the 2nd list of presidential bets where Duterte is included. Sandoval declined to release the result of the the first list without the approval of the party that commissioned the survey.
Sandoval said Duterte did eat into the support of all candidates.
He also stood by the design of the survey, saying it was designed in consultation with the client, with the results unaltered.
In a statement posted on its website, SWS said, "In view of a sponsor-authorized release of a commissioned survey, SWS is disclosing the survey's pertinent results and technical details, for the benefit of the public. A national survey sponsored by Mr. William J. Lima was conducted by SWS on November 26-28, 2015. The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 registered voters divided into random samples of 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages, and ±6% for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao). The area estimates were weighted using Commission on Elections (COMELEC) 2013 data on registered voters to obtain the national estimates."
Lima is reportedly a businessman based in Davao City. He has yet to respond to ABS-CBN News' questions.
De Vera said it doesn't mean that on election day all those who were ''excited'' by the entry of Duterte in the presidential race are going to vote for him.
He explained that generally the electorate gets excited with a new name. He believes that if former president Joseph Estrada's name is also added to the survey, he will also get sizable support.
Duterte declared his candidacy November 21 but formally accepted his party, PDP-Laban's nomination on November 30, 2015.
De Vera said the one who commissioned the survey wanted to check Duterte's viability as a presidential candidate and the results show that the Duterte is a viable candudate and that a significant number of voters are excited to have him in the race.
In the SWS Poll with a nationwide margin of error of 3%, 1,200 respondents nationwide (300 respondents each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao), were asked the question, "Ibang listahan naman po ang gamitin natin. Kasama dito si Rodrigo Duterte bilang isang substitute candidate sa Presidente. Sa mga sumusunod na pangalan sa listahang ito, sino po ang malamang ninyong iboboto bilang Presidente ng Pilipinas, kung ang eleksyon ay gaganapin ngayon?"
Duterte got 38%, while 21% picked Jojo Binay, 21% picked Grace Poe, 15% picked Mar Roxas, 4% picked Miriam Santiago, and 1% were undecided.
Duterte took NCR (48%) Visayas (44%) and Mindanao (50%) as well as classes ABC (62%) D (37%)and E (32%).
In Balance Luzon, Duterte is in a 3-way statistical tie wih Binay (27%) and Poe (28%).
Comparing national numbers to previous quarterly reports of the SWS, Duterte in this survey jumped 27 points from the quarterly survey in September (11%) where respondents were also asked to pick from a list of names, and 18 points (20%) in June where respondents were asked to name 3 best leaders to succeed President Aquino in 2016.
In the vice-presidential race, Sen. Francis Escudero scored 30% nationally, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. got 24%, Alan Cayetano scored 21%, Leni Robredo scored 12%, Gringo Honasan scored 6%, Sonny Trillanes got 5%, and 1% were undecided.
Escudero took NCR (33%) and Class D (31%) but is practically tied with Marcos in Balance Luzon (33%-31%).
Cayetano took Mindanao (34%) and is practically tied with Escudero in Viasayas (27%-29%) and Class E (31% each).
Fifty-three percent of those who picked Marcos said their votes won't change, followed by Escudero (41%), Trillanes (40%), Robredo (35%), Honasan (33%), and Cayetabo (27%).
Nationally, voters tend to listen most to the endorsement of the mayor (+15), church leader (+14), barangay captain (+13), relatives (+13), congressman (+11), and governor (+12). On the other hand, the endorsements of all living presidents seem to have a negative impact, with President Aquino getting a net endorsement effectiveness score of -6; Joseph Estrada, -6; Fidel Ramos, -16; and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, -34.
POE VS DUTERTE
De Vera also noted that the survey occurred before Duterte cursed the Pope and started talking about having public executions.
He said the challenge now for the Duterte camp is how to address the probing of voters and the media about his plans for the government.
De Vera added that Poe achieved similar results and excitement in pre-election surveys when her name first emerged.
Another factor is how groups aggrieved by Duterte will react. De Vera believes this could benefit Poe as she gets a reprieve from all the political attacks because those lagging in the surveys will now go after Duterte, the same way Binay got a reprieve when Poe emerged.
De Vera called on the public to ask all presidential candidates, including Duterte, for details of their plans as well as hold them accountable for his participation in alleged summary killings, his personal life, his stand on federalism, as well as his platform of government.
De Vera added the race is now between Poe and Duterte, whoa re considered the frontrunners in the race.
"Candidates who excite the public more than the others… Between Duterte and Grace Poe that's the battle of the frontrunners," he said.
While De Vera concedes Poe and Duterte both have legal challenges to their candidacies, he doesn't think it will affect their viability to voters in general. He said this will now depend on how the legal challenges will be handled but generally the public is saying they want alternative candidates who can produce results and offer quick solutions to problems.
However, De Vera admitted the legal challenges will hurt both Poe and Duterte's campaign infrastructures as well as the flow of campaign financing and support. He said for example, the Nationalist People's Coalition continues to vacillate on who they will support though many of its members have come out in support of Poe. De Vera said politicians are biding their time.
De Vera added that that the 2016 campaign won't be as expensive as the 2010 campaign. De Vera recalled Manny Villar used a lot of election ads in 2010 while Roxas, who has the most ads now, is not airing ads with the same frequency.
De Vera, however, pointed out that an added cost will be that presidential candidates will have to put in place an infrastructure at the local level as they don't really have point persons at the grassroots.
While the ruling Liberal Party has grassroots support, De Vera said many of those in Mindanao are already switching to Duterte and this is problematic for Roxas who will have difficulty replacing the networks he lost to Duterte.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said in a statement, "We are very happy with the results of the survey. This just validates our efforts and proves that the people of the Philippines need and demand change in government."
"Mayor Rody Duterte epitomizes the change that people want to see in government. All across Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao people are fed up with the same kind of promises from the usual type of politicians every election and end up with the same kind of governance. Filipinos are now looking for a leader who will shake things up, who will act fast and has the courage to do it. That's Duterte.''