Sunday, March 28, 2010

Noynoy stretches lead versus Villar in latest SWS survey

03/29/2010 | 01:10 AM

Original Story:

Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy" C. Aquino III has opened up a nine-point lead over his nearest rival for the presidency, fellow legislator and Nacionalista Party bet Sen. Manuel “Manny" B. Villar, Jr., based on the results of the latest BusinessWorld-Social Weather Stations Pre-Election Survey.

Mr. Aquino picked up a point to score 37% and further benefitted from a six-point loss for Mr. Villar, now at 28%, in the March 19-22 poll conducted just before campaigning for local posts began last Friday. The gap between the two frontrunners was just two points, within the error margins used, a month earlier.

Spokesmen for both pointed to retweaked strategies working or needing further adjustment, and analysts have said local-level campaigning – where endorsements by their parties’ bets will ostensibly add a new dimension – could change things anew with still a little over a month and a half left to go before the May 10 elections.

Former President Joseph M. “Erap" Estrada of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, meanwhile, gained four points to 19%, narrowing his gap with Mr. Villar to nine points from 19 previously.

Administration candidate Gilberto “Gibo" C. Teodoro, Jr. of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD remained in single digit territory with his score staying at 6%.

There were minimal changes with respect to the rest of the “presidentiables": Bagumbayan’s Sen. Richard “Dick" J. Gordon picked up a point to score a fifth-placed 3%, overtaking Bangon Pilipinas’ Eduardo “Bro. Eddie" C. Villanueva who lost a point to 2%. Following were Ang Kapatiran bet John Carlos “JC" G. De Los Reyes with 0.3%, and independent candidates Jesus Nicanor “Nick" P. Perlas (0.1%) and Sen. Ana Consuelo “Jamby" A. S. Madrigal (0.04%).

Votes for disqualified Kilusang Bagong Lipunan candidate Vetellano “Dodong" S. Acosta were classed under the undecided and others.

As with the previous Feb. 24-28 survey, the SWS respondents were asked to privately fill out a ballot containing the names of the official candidates in alphabetical order.

The question asked was “Kung ang eleksyon ay gaganapin ngayon, sino ang pinakamalamang ninyong ibiboto bilang Presidente, Bise-Presidente, at mga Senador ng Pilipinas? Narito ang listahan ng mga kandidato. Paki-shade o itiman po ang naa-angkop na oval katabi ng pangalan ng taong pina-kamalamang ninyong iboboto (If the elections were held today, whom would you most probably vote for as President, Vice-President, and Senators of the Philippines. Here is a list of candidates. Please shade the oval beside the name of the persons you would most likely vote for).

A total of 2,100 registered voters were polled nationwide, divided into random samples of 300 in Metro Manila and 600 each in the Balance of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. The sampling error margins used were ±2.2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, and ±4% for the rest of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

The results put Mr. Aquino ahead of the pack in terms of both geographic area and socio-economic class, although he saw his support drop in Metro Manila (39% from 42%) and Mindanao (32% from 35%). He overtook Mr. Villar in the Balance of Luzon (35% versus 30%), and among the class ABC (45% vs. 17%) and class E (33% vs. 31%).

Mr. Villar saw his support eroded in almost all geographic areas and socioeconomic classes, except in Metro Manila where he kept his score of 20%, keeping him third behind Mr. Estrada.

Mr. Aquino’s nationwide gain was limited to one point as his three-point losses in Metro Manila and Mindanao offset increases of four points in the Visayas and two points in the Balance of Luzon.

Mr. Villar’s nationwide loss of six points, meanwhile, was due to seven-point drops in the Balance of Luzon and the Visayas, a six-point fall in Mindanao, and a steady score in Metro Manila.

Mr. Estrada’s four-point gain nationwide was due to an additional six points in Mindanao, five points in the rest of Luzon, four in Metro Manila, and a steady score in the Visayas.

Mr. Teodoro’s score failed to improve as despite picking up a point each in Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao, he lost a point in the Balance of Luzon.

Mr. Gordon leapfrogged Mr. Villanueva by gaining a point each in the rest of Luzon, the Visayas, and holding steady in Mindanao while losing a point in Metro Manila.

Mr. Villanueva lost a point each in both the Visayas and Mindanao, gained one in Metro Manila, and held steady in the Balance of Luzon.

By class, Mr. Aquino gained 15 points to 45% among the ABC. Mr. Villar lost 16 to 17% while Mr. Teodoro gained five to 12%. Mr. Estrada lost three (11%), Mr. Villanueva gained two (3%), Mr. de los Reyes one (1%), and the rest were unchanged.

Among class D or the “masa," Mr. Aquino’s score was unchanged at 38%; Mr. Villar lost seven to 27%; Mr. Estrada gained five to 18%; Mr. Teodoro was unchanged at 6%; Mr. Gordon picked up a point to 3%; and Mr. Villanueva lost a point to 2%. There were minimal changes with respect to the scores of the rest of the candidates.

Among the class E, Messrs. Aquino and Villanueva gained a point each to 33% and 3%, respectively. Mr. Gordon gained two points (3%), Mr. Villar lost three points (31%), Mr. Estrada was steady (21%), while Messrs. Teodoro and Perlas lost a point each (4% and 0.1%, respectively).

Sought for comment, Mr. Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a telephone interview: “This is good news for us. We mapped out a strategy to improve our ratings in areas where we are weak, and it looks like the people are responding well. We will continue to work to increase our lead."

Nacionalista Party senatorial bet Gilbert C. Remulla, who also speaks on behalf of Mr. Villar, said: “The latest ratings of the SWS are a challenge for us to work much harder in the remaining 40 days of the elections. This Holy Week is a time for us to recalibrate our strategies.

“Coming from over a 40-point deficit in September, the NP believes that we still have the right momentum going for us. As campaigns go, there are ups and downs but in the end we are confident that we will be able to emerge victorious. We are currently working on solidifying our national machinery."

Margaux M. Salcedo, Mr. Estrada’s spokesperson, attributed the improvement in the scores of the former president to recent visits to various provinces and towns.

“We are pleased with the results. Although we would have wanted a bigger jump because we are aiming for continuous [increase], we believe the increase was due to the rounds that he has made recently. We have been working really hard to reach out to the masses," she said in a telephone interview.

Mike Toledo, Mr. Teodoro’s spokesman, said the administration candidate remained confident even if his ratings were not moving, insisting that the ruling party does not rely solely on surveys.

“We look at surveys but we don’t rely on them. They don’t reflect the outcome of elections and history is replete with such cases. We have been seeing massive outpouring of support but that is not reflected in the surveys. We will continue doing what we do," he said in a separate telephone interview. — BusinessWorld

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