This is a sequel to my last piece entitled “Poe vs. Duterte”.
Pulse Asia’s most recently released survey results on presidential candidates show an unchanged ranking since the last. Senator Grace Poe still leads with 28percent (from 26 percent), Mayor Rodrigo Duterte comes second with 24 percent (from 25 percent), Vice President Jejomar Binay on third spot, 23 percent (from 22 percent), and Liberal Party’s Mar Roxas, ranking fourth (19 percent from 20 percent). Both Poe and Binay gained, two percent points for the first, and one percent for the second. Duterte and Roxas lost one percent each.
In terms of geographic support, Poe’s support significantly increased in Mindanao (4percent); Duterte retains lead in Mindanao but lost three percent; Roxas is strongest in the Visayas and maintains a 37 percent support level despite Duterte’s two percent gain. Binay’s ratings remain highest in the balance of Luzon (26 percent) but this is way below Poe’s 35 percent.
When it comes to socio-economic classes, Poe is strongest in the ABC and E classes (both at 30 percent) where she gained 8 percent and 3 percent respectively. Duterte’s strongest support still comes from the ABC group (32 percent) though he lost 3p ercent here. This means that Poe has gained significantly from the ABC group after the Supreme Court said that she is eligible to run as president. While over-all there is no big surge in Poe’s numbers post the SC decision, she now enjoys much better support from what is referred to as the “thinking class”. To me, this shows that the vacillation before was largely due to the uncertainty of her status as a candidate. Binay’s best support comes from class E at 28percent, up by 3percent from last survey. Roxas’ support seems almost even at 16percent (ABC), 20percent (D), and 18percent (E).
As things stand, Poe is on top, Duterte and Binay are statistically tied for second place, and Roxas remains in the fourth slot. However, for this piece, I would like to focus on Binay and Roxas.
From the beginning of the electoral season (meaning about a year ago), I expected Binay and Roxas to be the top contenders for the presidency. Yes, I was wrong. This does not mean, however, that I am convinced that the two cannot win in May. My interest in these two candidates is also because of how Binay almost came from nowhere and beat Roxas in the 2010 VP race.
Binay was first to declare his intent to run as president. He just won the vice-presidency when he said that he was after the topmost position. He lost no time in building alliances with local government units. Go to the remote areas of the country and chances are, you are going to see a vehicle or two with Binay’s name on them.
In my travels to far-flung provinces, I have spoken with common folk who expressed appreciation for the VP because as they said, “he took time out to go to them, talk with them, and gift them with something they could use”. They were impressed that someone occupying a very high position in government would visit them. They felt that he was one of them. The VP, pre-corruption accusations, enjoyed the rural and poor city folk’s support.
His numbers in initial surveys were quite impressive. He was the one to beat.
This, however, changed when corruption allegations, one after another, were hurled at him. I am not saying that the VP is not guilty of these charges, far from it. I am almost sure though, that there was an orchestrated campaign to destroy him. His attitude towards these accusations did, and does not help him any. Not responding to these in the way that people want him to significantly contributed to the gradual but meaningful dive in his popularity. The entry of Poe and Duterte was also a big blow to him (and Roxas as well). People found alternatives. And now, Binay is on third place per surveys.
Mar Roxas, LP’s golden boy, on the other hand, from day one, was sure of the president’s, and his party’s endorsement. After all, he put aside his presidential ambitions, gave way to PNoy so the latter could run. Roxas never wavered in his support for PNoy despite all odds, and despite people’s prodding for him to be his own person, distinct from PNoy. Thus, it was not a surprise that LP chose him to be its standard bearer.
Roxas was given all the golden opportunities to prove himself. He headed the Department of Transportation and Communications and Department of the Interior and Local Government, two very important government instrumentalities that he could have used to show the people what a Roxas presidency will do to make people’s lives better. But he miserably failed.
At the end of the day, officials are measured based on their impact on ordinary people’s lives. We should remember that the big bulk of voters are in classes D and E. Voters will choose based on their experience. Roxas is largely blamed for the disastrous traffic in Metro Manila where people are trapped three to four hours almost daily. The MRT problems are also blamed on Roxas. Government’s failure to effectively and timely address the disaster brought about by Yolanda is also a big issue against Roxas. The SAF 44 massacre was another black eye. People sympathized with our fallen heroes and their families and expected Roxas to come out strongly and condemn those responsible. He did not.
These are problems that affected, and continue to affect ordinary Filipinos. The deterioration of people’s quality of life is this administration’s and Roxas’ failures, according to not a few people. For many, ‘daang matuwid’ turned out to be a farce.
Because ‘daang matuwid’ has been heavily discredited, Roxas’ stubbornness in clinging to this message cost him. He may be a good, educated, decent guy BUT people seem to have a hard time imagining him as the president—a position requiring strong political will, which many believe he does not have.
Roxas’ numbers in surveys, thus, consistently remain quite low. His supporters optimistically say that the LGUs, LP’s machinery, will prop him up and make him win.
This is going to be quite interesting because local support is also what the Binay camp heavily banks on. This Binay vs. Roxas thing can be a repeat of 2010. The difference, however, is they will need to bump the two top candidates off and this is going to be very tough especially in fair play.
Still, it is not impossible for either one to win.
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