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Binay still top-of-mind presidential contender despite public satisfaction fall, but Poe closes in

Posted on April 16, 2015

ACCUSATIONS of plunder hurled against Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay may have dragged his quarterly net satisfaction ratings through a year to a new record low for his term last quarter, but he remains the man to beat for next year’s presidential elections, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) report.

Results of the First Quarter 2015 Social Weather Survey -- conducted March 20-23 via face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults nationwide and sampling error margins of ±3 points for national percentages, and ±6 points each for Metro Manila, “Balance of Luzon,” the Visayas and Mindanao -- saw the list largely unchanged from the Nov. 27-Dec. 1 survey, except for the exclusion this time of Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis N. Pangilinan.

Respondents were not given a list to choose from and were instead asked to give names of up to three persons whom they thought should succeed President Benigno S. C. Aquino III when he steps down on June 30 next year.

Mr. Binay and Senator Mary Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares remained in the top two slots, with the vice-president steady at 36% from 37%.

Ms. Llamanzares, however -- who has yet to declare her intention to run for the highest office of the land -- has closed in significantly in the second survey, jumping 10 points to 31% from 21% previously.

Another surprise: Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, who had said in February that he had no intention of running for the same post, similarly added 10 points to 15% from 5% previously -- putting him in third position with Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” A. Roxas II, who lost four points to 15% from 19%.

Noting that “the drop of the vice-president is insignificant and miniscule,” Rico Paolo R. Quicho, Mr. Binay’s spokesman for political affairs, said: “The vice-president is focused on the task at hand and would continue to provide... leadership and performance no matter who will be the other presidential aspirants.”

Ms. Llamanzares was not immediately available for comment.

Asked to comment, J. Prospero E. de Vera III, public administration professor at the University of the Philippines (UP), noted that Mr. Binay’s steady performance bared “his core support.”

“Over the past couple of surveys, he has regrouped and has consolidated his core support,” Mr. de Vera said.

“Core support or political base consists of the voters who have made up their mind to support (Mr.) Binay no matter what. That’s his solid core. He has clearly regained his political footing.”

At the same time, Mr. de Vera said, the controversy surrounding the costly anti-terrorist raid in Maguindanao that shot down the public satisfaction rating of Mr. Aquino to the lowest in his term so far, helped draw the public’s eye away from Mr. Binay. “Events are also, in a sense, beneficial to (Mr.) Binay because the corruption allegations against him have been overshadowed by the Mamasapano incident,” he said. “So even if his critics pound him and accuse him, public attention has shifted to another set of issues.”

Still, Mr. de Vera noted, “(Ms.) Poe (-Llamanzares) and (Mr.) Duterte have become viable alternatives to (Mr.) Binay, based on their latest survey ratings.” -- with inputs from A. M. Monzon