MANILA (2ND UPDATE) -- Reelectionist Senator Grace Poe topped the most recent Pulse Asia survey for the May elections, with only 2 newcomers having a "statistical chance" of winning a Senate seat, the pollster said Wednesday.
Only Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and former Philippine National Police Chief Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa had a chance of cracking the winners' circle of 12 among newcomers, according to a Pulse Asia poll of 1,800 respondents from Dec. 14 to 21.
Marcos and Dela Rosa were both ranked 8th to 15th. The rest of the top 15 were either reelectionists or comebacking senators. The survey period covered the graft conviction of Marcos' mother, former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
Poe held on to the top spot with 75.6 percent of respondents supporting her re-election. The lawmaker also topped Pulse Asia's senatorial survey in September 2018.
Senator Cynthia Villar, wife of billionaire and former Senate President Manuel Villar, placed second with a voter preference of 66.6 percent.
Tied at third to fourth place were Sen. Sonny Angara and former Sen. Pia Cayetano.
Former Sen. Lito Lapid, Sen. Nancy Binay and Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III grabbed the fifth to seventh spots.
Completing the list of probable winners were former senators Serge Osmena (8-13) and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr (8-14); Marcos, Ex-Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Dela Rosa and Ex-Sen. Mar Roxas (8-15); Sen. JV Ejercito (9-16); and Sen. Bam Aquino (10-16).
Revilla was acquitted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder charges a week before the survey was conducted.
Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go was ranked 14th to 16th, while Former Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino and Juan Ponce Enrile were tied at 17th to 18th place.
Reelectionist senators Poe and Angara both said they are "humbled" by the survey results.
"This will serve both as an inspiration and challenge to continue working hard, grateful to the people for giving us the chance to help make lives a little better," Poe said in a statement.
"This latest snapshot of how voters perceive their preferred candidates will definitely inspire me to work harder in 2019 and the years to come to make people’s lives better," Angara said in a statement.
Respondents in the December 2018 survey were asked to choose from showcards with the names of 70 candidates.
Only 43 percent of respondents had a complete slate or were supporting 12 candidates, the pollster noted.
Respondents named an average of 9 and a median of 10 senatorial candidates, Pulse Asia added.
The independent survey had an error margin of 2.3 percent for national percentages.