Three-way race for presidency no longer possible, says analyst


Posted at Apr 25 2022 11:30 AM | Updated as of Apr 25 2022 11:44 AM

Vice President and presidential hopeful Leni Robredo and former senator and presidential aspirant Ferdinand
Vice President and presidential hopeful Leni Robredo and former senator and presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos. VPLeni Media Bureau handout / George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A political analyst believes a "three-way race" for the presidency is no longer possible at this time, 2 weeks before Election Day.

Other presidential candidates have "seen their numbers go down since February," according to Dindo Manhit, president of research firm Stratbase ADR Institute.

The camp of presidential hopeful Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso earlier this month said the May polls "would be a three-way race."

"We see that by this time a leading candidate, in this case (former) Sen. (Ferdinand) Marcos Jr, and running a second, maybe far second but building a momentum, is Vice President Leni Robredo," Manhit told ANC's Headstart.

"I think focus should be on those 2 because we have seen really the candidacy of others not doing really well as we track surveys after surveys since February...And also I think they must've gained some negative following with regards to what happened on Easter Sunday."

Marcos' lead in preelection surveys can be attributed to the "consolidation of the Dutertes and the Marcoses," Manhit said.

"What we're seeing at the ground level is VP Leni Robredo gaining not only popular support through voluntarism but also some shifts coming from local political leaders. This might end up a boost or momentum builder for her," he said.

Marcos getting the endorsement of One Cebu, the dominant party in the province, is "really a big boost of candidacy," according to Manhit.

Robredo, however, has the support of the vice governor and former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña, Manhit said.

"Always remember that preferences can still change. There is 40 percent of Filipinos saying they can still change their votes. The challenge now is how do you engage and how do you convert. Election is about momentum, it can happen in the last few weeks," he said.

Social media has also gained traction in political discourse to 21 percent this year from 2 percent during the 2016 elections, according to Manhit.

"What we have seen is a very quiet (mainstream) media. Discourse could've been more engaging if somebody is dominating and shaping discussions...We liked to give everybody a chance to speak, even 9 candidates," he said.

"Whoever dominates those areas it's not a political leader, it’s social media. (The camp of) BBM, they've dominated social media until March, that's why the challenge of the campaign of VP Leni is do they have enough time. There's interest but is it enough to convert votes?" 

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