Tuesday, March 9, 2010

SWS: Aquino, Villar slide; Erap gains

By Gerry Baldo

Original Story: http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/20100310hed5.html

A downtrend in the support for Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Nacionalista Party (NP) top bet Manuel Villar Jr., in contrast to a gain for former President Joseph Estrada, was clear in the result of the recent survey conducted jointly by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and business daily Business World.

The poll, the third conducted by SWS for the newspaper and the first joint undertaking after the start of the campaign period for national position candidates found the front-runners Aquino and Villar both losing ground among voters with Aquino garnering 36 percent preference and Villar at 34 percent. Aquino’s rating was at 46 percent in the December survey and 42 percent in the January survey of the same outfit while Villar’s was at 27 percent in December and 35 percent in January.

With less than two months to go before the May 10 national elections, the voting preference for Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP)-United Opposition (UNO) presidential candidate Estrada improved to 15 percent from 13 percent previously while administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD bet Gliberto Teodoro gained to six percent in February from four percent in January.

Estrada expressed high hopes that he will catch up with the two top contenders for the presidency as shown by the trend in the recent surveys conducted by Pulse Asia and SWS.

“The recent SWS survey, wherein Estrada gained two percentage points from 13 to 15, practically confirmed the last Pulse Asia survey in late February that showed him gaining six percentage points to 18 while those of his two nearest rivals Villar and Aquino dropped one point and six points respectively,” a statement from the Estrada camp said.

“They’re (Aquino and Villar) finished,” Estrada said in a reaction to the survey result.

A separate survey conducted by Pulse Asia on candidates for senator showed three names, Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Miriam Defensor-Santiago, will fight it out for the top post in the race.

In the Pulse Asia survey held from February 21 to 25, Revilla got a voter preference of 53.6 percent followed by Estrada’s 52.6 percent and Santiago’s 49.4 percent. All three were in a statistical tie for first place.

The survey was conducted among 1,800 respondents nationwide with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

In third place was Senator Pilar Juliana “Pia” Cayetano (45.4 percent), followed at fifth by former Senate President Franklin Drilon (45 percent).

Candidates who were statistically within the 12 Senate slots are current Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (43.8 percent), former Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III (33.2 percent), former senator and former National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) director general Ralph Recto (33.1 percent), former Senator Sergio “Serge” OsmeƱa III (29.1 percent), Ilocos Norte Representative Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (28.2 percent), Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid (25.8 percent), Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III (24.3 percent), businessman and national broadband network deal whistleblower Jose “Joey” De Venecia (23.5 percent), and Muntinlupa Representative Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon (22.7 percent).

Estrada, in an interview yesterday said that he expects another eight percent increase in the next survey to catch up with Villar or six percent the following three surveys until the May 10 elections.

He recalled that in 1998 he won with a 38 percent approval rating.

Referring to the Pulse Asia survey, he said that in less than a month he got a six percent gain given the meagre funds he has for television advertising.

“You can see I have the smallest expenses on TV advertisements. P1.2 billion was spent by Manny Villar, Gibo was next, 3rd was Noynoy, 4th was Gordon, 5th was Bro. Eddie, I was at 6th with only P58 million spent on advertising.

“In 1998, I started in third place. It’s hard to be number one too early then slide down, it’s better to be from the bottom going up,” he said.

He believes that the ratings of Aquino and Villar would be going down in the run up to the elections.

He said that his political rivals have not yet seen what is coming for him during the campaign.

“Ah yes... yes they have not seen the best. And the bottom line is, we are the true opposition because both of them conspired in putting up of Gloria as president. They were together in Edsa ll,” he said.

He added that the people are now realizing that the Estrada administration is better than the Arroyo administration. “You cannot fool the people, they know and they can feel it even in the survey. More than 10 percent are experiencing hunger now and of course the peace and order situation and the economy,” he said.

Estrada’s second shot at the presidency also received another major boost after more local executives from Cebu expressed their support for his presidential bid.

“We thank our friends in Cebu for their support for President Estrada and his quest to provide a better future for our people, most especially for the Filipino masses,” former Ambassador Ernesto Maceda, campaign manager of Estrada said.

Several members of Cebu’s political elite had already expressed their support for Estrada’s candidacy, among them Liloan Mayor Dave Frasco and his wife Cristina, daughter of Cebu governor Gwen Garcia; Mayor Ricky Ramirez of Medellin; and Bogo City mayoralty candidate Mariquita Salimbangon Yeung;

Those who added their support for Estrada’s bid were incumbent mayor Richie Wagas (Compostela), Roger Bacuerpo (Tudela), and several other mayors from Cebu’s 5th district.

Maceda described this as a major and positive development, coming on the heels of a recent Pulse Asia survey showing Pres. Estrada gaining six percentage points, from 12-percent in January to 18-percent this month.

With more than 50-million voters expected to cast their ballots in May, a single percentage point translates to about 500,000 votes.

Maceda was with Estrada’s group during their recent Southern campaign swing through Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Cebu and Bohol, where Tagbilaran City mayor Dan “Jun-Jun” Lim and his wife led about 8,000 Boholanos in a welcoming rally at the town center.

“Our visit to the South shows that even in Cebu, which is often regarded as GMA country, President Estrada has a very strong following,” Maceda revealed. “Like I said before, Pres. Estrada may pull off a surprise there, and with the support of more local executives, then this may just be the take-off point for that surprise.”

Villar, meanwhile, belittled the latest SWS survey result showing his rival in the presidential race in the lead anew, saying that the one to two percent edge of Aquino III is “statistically insignificant.”

“We don’t let it affect us, when surveys show the rivals in one to two percentage lead. In fact, the one percent lead already means a tie, no change at all. It is what we call statistically insignificant,” Villar said in a press conference with Manila-based reporters in Davao City.itive.

“We consider the surveys, we use it as a guide but I’m happy with the current results, of the last two surveys (SWS and Pulse Asia) which showed us tied in the top spot.

Villar said he’s not affected by the apparent good showing of Estrada whose percentage rating is on upward slope, as he further confessed that they’re keeping tab of the standing of Aquino although they’re also monitoring the performance of the other candidates.

LP general campaign manager Florencio Abad said they are pleased with the results of the SWS’ February 21 to 25 survey, which clearly shows that Aquino has retained his lead.

“Despite our closest rival’s excessive, beyond-the-Comelec-limit spending on TV ads and the obscenely funded propaganda machine, the people have maintained their trust in Noynoy Aquino’s candidacy.

“What this survey tells us is that our message is holding and we must continue delivering that to places like the Samar Islands and Northern Luzon, where we see greater opportunities recruiting more supporters. For this purpose, the Aquino campaign intends to aggressively expand its volunteer base of 200,000 in these places.

Original Story: http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/20100310hed5.html

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