If elections were held today, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay would win the presidency hands down, with 31 percent of the vote, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey barely 19 months before the May 2016 presidential elections.
The vice president would easily defeat Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Araneta “Mar” Roxas whose 13 percent is behind the frontrunner by 18 percentage points, and perennial presidentiable Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, with a 11 percent rating, or 20 percentage points behind the leader.
Tied for fourth are Senator Grace Poe and Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada with identical 10 percent. They are 21 percentage points behind Binay.
The fact that Jejomar Binay will still win the presidency in 2016 should be good news for the vice president. It is not.
Until three months ago, the vice president was a shoo-in for the 2016 presidency. He would grab 40 to 41 percent of the vote, more than the combined vote of the next three rivals combined.
After allegations of corruption during Binay’s long and uninterrupted reign as mayor of Makati in two months of decidedly one-sided Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings conducted by his tormentors, Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes, the Vice President’s popularity suffered a substantial drop and his ratings went down from 41 percent in July to 31 percent this September, an astronomical loss of 5 million votes in less than three months.
A loss of 10 percentage points, from 41 percent to 31 percent, is equivalent to a 25 percent drop in three months or 8.3 percent per month. That’s disturbing. An 8 percent drop is easily four million votes.
This shows, that despite his seemingly huge lead over his rivals for the presidency, Binay is vulnerable. Suddenly, he is beatable. The presidency is no longer his to win.
On the other hand, Mar Roxas has nearly doubled his rating, from 7 percent to 13 percent without him doing anything notable. It’s as if Pulse Asia has credited him outright its survey’s 6 percent margin of error in many places.
In fact, the DILG chief was even coddling a now notoriously corrupt Philippine National Police chief. He should have fired Alan Purisima, for ostentatious corruption, or at the very least for incredibly poor judgment.
It seems Roxas merely filled a vacuum created by Binay’s massive loss of potential votes.
Still on the presidential race, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is No. 7 choice of voters for president with 4 percent, while former Vice President Noli de Castro is No. 8, with 3 percent. Former Senators Richard Gordon (No. 9) and Panfilo Lacson (No. 10) bring up the rear with 2 percent and 1 percent vote share, respectively, for president. Unless they marshall enormous logistics and machinery, No. 7 to No. 10 could possibly kiss their presidential ambitions goodbye.
Between July and September, Grace Poe slid to fourth (10 percent) from second (12 percent), while Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, went down to sixth place (5 percent), from fourth (7 percent) to make way for a strong come from behind upswing to second place by Mar Roxas, in the presidential popularity contest.
Grace Poe for VP
For vice president, Senator Grace Poe still leads the pack with a 31 percent rating, ahead by 12 percentage points over Senator Chiz Escudero’s 19 percent, and a gain of 6 percentage points from her July 2014 rating of 26 percent.
Escudero lost 3 percentage points in rating, from 22 percent in July to 19 percent in September. Senator Cayetano, No. 3 in the VP race, lost 5 percentage points, from 14 percent to 9 percent, while Trillanes (No. 4), gained slightly, by 1 percentage-point, from 6 percent to 7 percent. Bongbong Marcos lost 2 points from 8 percent (No. 4 in VP race) to 6 percent (No. 5).
Pulse Asia polled 1200 respondents, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent nationwide and 6 percent. With these high margins of error, Roxas (13 percent), Santiago (11 percent), Poe and Estrada (both 10 percent) are virtually tied for second place. The vote difference among these No.2 to No. 4 is only between half million to one million votes which at this stage of the race could be statistical error.
Assuming 50 million voting in May 2016, a 31 percent vote share or plurality for Binay translates into 15.5 million votes, a formidable 6.5 million-vote margin over Roxas, who narrowly lost the vice presidency to the former mayor in the May 2010 elections.
Binay would also beat Miriam Santiago by 5.5 million votes and trounce Senator Poe and Mayor Estrada, both by 5 million votes.
Binay, his wife Elenita and his son Junjun, have alternately served as Makati mayor from February 1986 to the present, making for one most enduring and powerful political dynasties. A Binay daughter is an incumbent senator while another daughter is a congresswoman of Makati. He won as vice president by promising Filipinos he could replicate his success story in Makati nationwide.
Tito Sotto and Kiko top Senate poll
Meanwhile, in the senatorial derby , reelectionist Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto and former Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan are tied for first place, with 51.6 percent and 51.5 percent of potential voters picking them, respectively.
Tied in third place are: Mar Roxas 47.6 percent, Bongbong Marcos 47.2 percent, and Panfilo Lacson 47.1 percent.
In 6thto 12th places are: Dick Gordon 45.9 percent, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos 44.5, her husband Ralph Recto 44.1, Senate President Frank Drilon 42.6, and “comebacking” Juan Miguel Migz Zubiri 41.5, Jamby Madrigal 35.9, and Sergio Osmena III, 35.4 percent.
The Liberal Party and the opposition will likely split almost evenly the 12 Senate seats up for grabs in 2016.