MANILA—It is still possible for Vice President Leni Robredo to catch up to Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s popularity in pre-election surveys but it will be difficult, the research director of Pulse Asia Research Inc. said.
"Theoretically, kaya pero mahirap. But realistically mahirap. Hindi sinabing imposible," Ana Maria Tabunda said on Monday.
(Theoretically, it's possible, but it will be difficult. Realistically, it will be difficult. But it's not impossible.)
Marcos kept his lead in the February survey of Pulse Asia on preferred presidential candidates in the May elections.
Of 2,400 adult respondents, 60 percent said they would vote for Marcos if the elections were held during the survey period Feb. 18-23, Pulse Asia said, the same rate he got during the Jan. 19-24 survey.
Robredo, who is backed by 15 percent of likely voters, placed second. She got 16 percent during the January survey.
Pulse Asia said Marcos, 64, "enjoys the lead in all geographic areas and socio-economic groupings", at 53 to 68 percent and 58 to 61 percent, respectively.
Tabunda said Marcos Jr.'s rating may be due to his social media presence.
"Marami hong resources 'yan eh. 'Yung social media presence na lang. Tapos 'yung kaniyang mga caravan. Marami ho siyang resources eh," she said.
(He has a lot of resources. His social media presence alone, then his caravans. He has a lot of resources.)
She also said that only Robredo's supporters attend her campaign rallies, but what cannot be seen are those who do not support her.
"'Pag binibilang mo ang tao sa rally, ang nabibilang mo lang 'yung sumusuporta. Hindi mo nabibilang 'yung hindi sumusuporta," Tabunda explained.
(When you count the people in rallies, you will only see those who support her. You don't see those who do not support her.)
Tabunda said that in 2016, although Grace Poe was leading the pre-election surveys until March, the difference in the rating between her and her rivals — Rodrigo Duterte, Mar Roxas and Jejomar Binay — was not that big.
Duterte then took the lead in the April 2016 survey.
Robredo's spokesman, Barry Gutierrez, noted that the latest Pulse Asia survey was conducted before "a snowballing in support" for the Vice President, as seen in her "record-breaking rallies" in recent weeks.
Election surveys can be considered "snapshots of the moment" and reflect the people's sentiments at the time the surveys were conducted, analysts have explained.