75% of news about Noynoy positive; 62% for Villar

MANILA, Philippines – Positive news about Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III have helped him maintain his lead in the presidential race, according to a poll conducted by broadsheet newspaper Manila Standard Today, published on Monday.

In the latest poll, conducted April 4 to 6 or just over a month before election day, Liberal Party presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III kept a double-digit lead over his closest rival Nacionalista Party bet Sen. Manny Villar.

In his survey commentary, Manila Standard’s resident pollster Pedro Laylo Jr., formerly with Social Weather Stations (SWS), said what has helped Aquino “maintain the upper hand” are the high levels of news awareness about him, mostly positive news, especially from television.

“The latest poll gives a glimpse into how the mass media, particularly television news, are influencing the voting public by framing the agenda. In the case of the current status of the presidential race, what the media report has created an effect on presidential vote decisions,” Laylo said.

Laylo said the “extent of news awareness” for Aquino was at 73% compared to Villar’s 79%; Estrada’s was at 60%; Teodoro’s was at 55%.

The Manila Standard poll asked voters to qualify whether the news they received about the candidate were positive or negative. (Extent of news awareness is different from whether news is positive or negative.)

“The results show Aquino having an edge with 75% of those aware of news about him saying they received mostly positive news,” Laylo said. “For Villar, the figure was only 62%; for Estrada, only 52%; and for Teodoro, only 58%.”

In terms of negative news, it was highest for Estrada with 48%; Teodoro with 42%; Villar with 38; Aquino with 25%.

“The multiplier effect works to the advantage of Aquino, who has significantly more voters saying that the kind of news they have received regarding him were mostly positive,” Laylo said.

Aquino keeps double-digit lead

The survey, conducted between April 4 to 6 among 2,500 respondents, had Aquino still in the lead with 37% while Villar was at 26%.

Their rankings were statistically the same as the March 21 to 28 survey by Pulse Asia released last week, April 6, where Aquino had 37% while Villar had 25%

Teodoro went up slightly from 6% in March to 8% in first week of April, while Estrada gained one 1 percentage point.

Those undecided increased from 4% in March to 9% in April. The 9% undecided was the same as in the Pulse Asia survey.

TV most influential

The Manila Standard poll said a “great majority–ranging from 80% to 85%–of voters nationwide trust TV programs as their major source of news.”

Only 9% cited radio programs, 6% cited word of mouth, and 1% cited newspapers.

“The rise of television as the medium by which most voters secure information on candidates, specifically those running for the highest posts, has become prevalent in past election,” Laylo said.

When asked which TV news programs voters considered trustworthy, Laylo said “60 to 63 percent of the viewing public considered news and public affairs programs from the ABS-CBN network compared to about 35 to 38% who mentioned news and public affairs programs from the GMA network. About 2 percent mentioned news programs from other TV networks.”

“Positive TV news coverage generates greater trust, which in turn translates into a higher vote conversion for presidential candidates,” Laylo said.

Binay catches up for 2nd place

In the same survey, Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas of the Liberal Party kept a big 15-point lead over Loren Legarda of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

Roxas had 39% support compared to Legarda’s 24%.

As in the Pulse Asia survey, Manila Standard’s poll showed Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay with 22%, which means he had caught up with Legarda, given the survey’s plus/minus 2% margin of error.


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