Friday, January 8, 2010

Villar cuts Aquino lead (NP camp solicited latest SWS survey)

By Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:08:00 01/09/2010

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Inquirer Politics, Politics

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines—The lead of Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno Aquino III over his nearest rival, Sen. Manny Villar, of the Nacionalista Party has been narrowed to 11 percent, according to a recent Social Weather Stations survey commissioned by a Villar ally.

Aquino was the choice of 44 percent of 2,100 respondents across the country in the SWS special yearend survey conducted from Dec. 27 to 28, 2009.

Villar obtained 33 percent, narrowing the gap with Aquino to 11 percent, and improving his ratings from the 27 percent he got in the earlier Dec. 5-10 SWS survey.

The survey was privately commissioned by House Minority Leader San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, a Villar ally, and was released to Senate reporters by Villar’s office.

A statement issued by Villar’s office said the senator “seems to have benefited from the shift in voting preference over the last three weeks in December as respondents start to put a premium on proven competence, leadership and accomplishments.”

A comparison of the two surveys showed that Villar had added six percentage points in the three weeks between the two survey dates.

Aquino obtained 46 percent in the earlier survey, leading Villar by 19 percentage points.

Deposed president Joseph Estrada remained in third place but shed one percentage point in the new SWS survey to 15 percent, from his previous 16 percent.


In fourth place was Lakas-Kampi-CMD candidate Gilbert Teodoro, Aquino’s cousin, whose performance remained at 5 percent, similar to his December 5-10 rating.

Evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva’s ratings also did not move at 1 percent.

The independent candidates continued to lag behind.

Sen. Richard Gordon scored 0.5 percent from his earlier 0.9 percent, while Sen. Jamby Madrigal and John Carlos de los Reyes of Kapatiran tied with 0.4 percent each from their previous 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.

From four percent in the earlier survey, only 1 percent of the respondents in the Dec. 27-28 survey were undecided.

The national survey titled “presidential preference for the 2010 elections,” had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percent.

The respondents were asked this question in Filipino: “From the following list of names, who are you likely to vote for as President of the Philippines, if elections were held today?”

Unfazed front runner

Contacted for comment, Aquino was unfazed, saying he knew his closest rival for the presidency was not gaining at his expense.

“I have not seen the survey but if it is true that his ratings jumped and mine stayed the same, I’m not worried about that,’’ said Aquino in a phone interview.

Aquino said that his ratings stayed virtually unchanged from a survey made by the SWS in the same month was proof of his “staying power.’’

“Look, they’ve thrown all the black propaganda that they could muster against me and still my ratings remain high. He (Villar) has poured billions into the campaign while I have spent just a trickle,” said Aquino.

Catching up by March

Gilbert Remulla, the NP spokesperson, said the campaign expected Villar’s ratings to be on par with Aquino’s by March, “as we can see the trending of surveys and [candidates’] popularity.”

“The NP is really confident that that will happen. We are happy because we can see that every time Senator Villar goes around the country, the support for him is increasing,” Remulla told a press conference.

Remulla, who is also running for the Senate, credited the boost in Villar’s ratings to the latter’s advertising drive in television and radio.

“But it’s not just advertising, it’s the message that you are trying to get across. What’s his message, his vision? He wants the people to prosper,” Remulla said.

Villar said he is the genuine rags-to-riches presidential candidate, said Remulla.

“The NP with the leadership of Senator Villar will be able to save (people) from poverty,” he said.

Villar’s campaign has anchored his bid on his promise—supposedly backed by experience and accomplishments—to lift the Filipino people from poverty.

Methodology questioned

Ernesto Maceda, Estrada’s campaign manager, dismissed the SWS survey, saying it was biased for Villar and the methodology used was questionable.

Maceda noted that the survey was comissioned by the Villar campaign.

“As far as we are concerned, we take this with a grain of salt... If you total the scores, it comes to 99 plus percent. I have never seen a survey where you don’t have 2 to 3 percent of undecided votes,” he said.

Maceda said some voters were not yet supporting Estrada, who was ousted in 2001 and convicted for plunder in 2007, because of disqualification cases filed against him.

“Once we get a favorable decision, we expect an increase. We are happy where we are right now,” he said.

At least three lawyers have filed petitions with the Commission on Elections to disqualify Estrada on the ground that as a former president he was banned from running for office again.

Original Story:

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