Monday, November 23, 2009

SENATORS Benigno Aquino III and Manuel Roxas II have maintained their lead in the race for president and vice president, according to a new nationwide survey commissioned by Manila Standard Today.

The Standard Poll, conducted between Nov. 2 and 9, involved in-person interviews with 2,500 registered voters, and with a margin of error of 2 percent at the national level.

“Given that there are still possible scenarios for those vying for the highest elective posts, various lists were tested to see movements in voter preferences,” said Pedro Laylo Jr., Standard Today’s resident pollster.

The results showed that Aquino and Roxas were the top choices regardless of who else were running, Laylo said.

With seven candidates running, Aquino topped the list with 41 percent, followed by Senator Manuel Villar (24 percent), Senator Francis Escudero (12 percent), and deposed President Joseph Estrada (11 percent).

Administration bet and former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro received only 3 percent, Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Bayani Fernando obtained 1 percent, and former Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane received 0.4 percent. Some 4 percent of the respondents were undecided.

“If Fernando and Ebdane dropped out of the race, their votes would most likely switch to Aquino and Teodoro,” Laylo said.

If Estrada did not run or was disqualified, more than half of his votes would equally be distributed to Aquino and Villar, with Escudero and the undecided category getting the rest. “If Escudero does not run, two-thirds of his votes would go to Aquino and Villar,” Laylo said, quoting the survey results.

According to the survey, Aquino’s dominance cuts across all major regions. The preferences for second-placer Villar are noticeably higher in the Visayas and lower in Metro Manila. Escudero, meanwhile, scored relatively higher in Metro Manila and South Luzon, while Estrada got a relatively higher percentage of his support among those surveyed in Mindanao.

In the vice presidential race, Roxas kept his lead over Senator Loren Legarda, but not in the same magnitude as Aquino had over Villar in the presidential race. Teodoro’s running mate, TV host and actor Edu Manzano, was not yet included in the list when the survey was conducted.

In a field of seven candidates, Roxas took a 29 percent rating, followed by Legarda (24 percent), Escudero (14 percent), De Castro (12 percent), Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay (9 percent), Batangas Governor Vilma Santos (4%), and Fernando (2 percent). Some 5 percent said they were undecided as to their vice presidential preference.

If De Castro, Santos and Fernando chose to drop out of the race, their votes would most likely be transferred to Roxas and Legarda, with a few moving to Escudero and the rest becoming undecided, Laylo said.

If Binay also decided not to run, most of his votes would become undecided, with the balance most likely switching to Escudero, and then to Roxas and Legarda, Laylo said.

Roxas would most likely benefit from the votes of Escudero if the Bicolano senator also decided not to join the race. Across major areas, Roxas led overwhelmingly in the Visayas, followed Metro Manila and Mindanao.

Legarda held pole position in North Luzon, with a close fight in South Luzon between her and Roxas, although Escudero was not far behind.

The poll used a multi-stage probability sampling allocated into 500 random samples each in the National Capital Region, North and Central Luzon, South Luzon and Bicol, Visayas and Mindanao.

The next poll will be conducted in the first week of December.

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