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Binay slips, Duterte up in SWS survey

Posted on February 16, 2016

VICE-PRESIDENT Jejomar C. Binay’s lead against other candidates in the presidential race has narrowed, while Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte tied with Senator Grace Poe in second place in the latest BusinessWorld-Social Weather Stations (BW-SWS) pre-election survey.

Candidates in the 2016 presidential race: Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, Senator Grace Poe, former interior secretary Mar Roxas, and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
Results of a Feb. 5 to 7 BW-SWS pre-election survey among 1,200 validated voters nationwide -- with sampling error margins of ±3 points -- showed 29% (from 31% in January) of respondents picking Mr. Binay as the next president.

Mr. Binay, the candidate of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, is now only five points ahead of Mr. Duterte of PDP-Laban and Ms. Poe, an independent candidate, who both had 24%.

The February survey showed 24% of respondents choosing Mr. Duterte, from 20% in January, while Ms. Poe’s score was flat.

Ms. Poe was able to obtain from the high court two temporary restraining orders indefinitely stopping the Commission on Elections from enforcing its Dec. 23 en banc resolutions that affirmed the Second and First Division’s cancellation of her candidacy on the grounds of misrepresentation. The SC en banc is still tackling the cases contesting the Comelec’s actions.

Former interior secretary Manuel “Mar” A. Roxas of the ruling Liberal Party fell to fourth place, as he only got the nod of 18% of the respondents from 21% in January.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago of the People’s Reform Party got 4% in the survey.

The question asked respondents was the same in December last year and in January: “Kung ang eleksyon ay gaganapin ngayon, sino po ang malamang ninyong iboboto bilang PRESIDENTE, BISE-PRESIDENTE, at mga SENADOR, ng PILIPINAS? Narito ang listahan ng mga kandidato.”

(If the election were held now, who will you likely vote as PRESIDENT, VICE-PRESIDENT, and SENATORS, of the PHILIPPINES? Here is the list of the candidates.)

Click to enlarge

Edmund S. Tayao, political science professor at the University of Santo Tomas, said the February survey suggested the race is getting “tighter,” as Mr. Binay’s lead thinned.

“The presidential race remains neck and neck,” he said in a phone interview on Sunday.

Mr. Tayao also noted the survey showed voters are “still trying to figure out who to vote for.”

“It seems that the voter preference remains unstable....Respondents are looking for something to convince them to vote for a particular candidate,” he added.

In the vice-presidential race, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. is now tied at the top spot with Senator Francis Joseph “Chiz” G. Escudero, both at 26%.

Mr. Escudero lost the lead for the first time since the BW-SWS pre-election survey was conducted in September last year, with his score dropping to 26% in February from 28% among validated voters in the previous month, and 30% in the November and December surveys last year among registered voters.

The February survey showed 26% of respondents choosing Mr. Marcos, from 25% in January.

Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo was third with 19% (from 17%), followed by Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano at fourth with 16% (from 14%).

Senator Gregorio “Gringo” B. Honasan II obtained 6% (from 8%), while Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV had 5% (from 3%).

In the senatorial race, the top five leading candidates were still Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III (52% in February from 56% in January), followed by former senator Panfilo M. Lacson (unchanged at 49%), Sen. Ralph G. Recto (unchanged at 46%), former senator and food security presidential assistant Francis N. Pangilinan (42% from 46%) and Senate President Franklin M. Drilon (40% from 43%).

Also in the top 9 were former senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri (38% from 39%), Sen. Sergio D. Osmeńa III (37% from 42%), Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao (35% from 37%), and former justice secretary Leila M. de Lima (35% from 33%).

The survey showed a close race for the last three seats, among former Akbayan Rep. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros (27% from 28%), Sen. Teofisto D.L. Guingona III (26% from 28%), former senator Richard J. Gordon (26% from 31%), Sherwin Gatchalian (23% from 17%) and Joel T. Villanueva (22% from 19%).

The February survey showed only 25% of respondents chose a full slate of 12 names, with the average number of names chosen at 7.1, the survey said.

Meanwhile, analysts at JPMorgan & Chase Bank do not see the upcoming presidential elections causing a big jolt in the local markets, even as the poll results remain to be largely fluid.

“In our view, we do not see the presidential election as a game-changing event to the economy or equity market,” read a Feb. 4 commentary sent to reporters by the central bank’s Investor Relations Office.

The bank analysts describe the current political situation as “highly fluid,” given fluctuating results in recent election surveys.

The bank, however, focused on the top four contenders: Ms. Poe, Messrs. Binay, Roxas, and Duterte.

The bank analysts attributed Ms. Poe’s ratings decline to the disqualification cases lodged against her due to questions on citizenship and residency; while Mr. Binay’s corruption allegations weighed down his track record as Makati mayor. They also cited Mr. Duterte for his lack of “political machinery” to wage a national campaign.

Regardless of who wins, JP Morgan economists say there is little risk that could arise from the upcoming change in leadership, echoing the view that gains and reforms made for the local economy have long been secured.

“While a strong mandate for the new president will be a positive, we do not see a minority president posing a risk to political stability and to the new administration’s ability in pursuing important economic reforms,” the report read. -- K. M. P. Tubadeza and Melissa Luz T. Lopez