Vice President Jejomar Binay is the man to beat for the 2016 presidential elections. That’s according to a presidential election survey conducted by Pulse Asia from March 19 to 26.
The poll, first reported by online news site Rappler.com, found that 40% of likely voters plan to vote for Binay in the May 2016 presidential polls. This is almost three times the voter preference for second-placer Senator Grace Poe, which is at a measly 15%.
While Binay has always been vocal about eyeing the presidency, speculations about Poe’s political future began as soon as she topped the 2013 senatorial race. Her father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., narrowly lost to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the controversial 2004 presidential elections.
At third place and five points behind Poe is Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (10%). The 1992 presidential contender has enjoyed a wave of popularity among netizens and the youth in recent years especially with her “pick-up lines” and performance during Senate sessions.
Senator Francis Escudero is at fourth place with 9%, immediately followed by Interior Secretary Mar Roxas (6%), Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (5%), Senator Alan Peter Cayetano (4%), television host and presidential sister Kris Aquino (4%), Senator Bong Revilla (3%), and Panfilo Lacson, presidential adviser for rehabilitation and recovery and a former senator (2%).
Meanwhile, the vice presidential field is dominated by Poe and Escudero, who received the support of 24% and 20%, respectively. Roxas is at third place with a puny 8%. He is trailed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV with 7% and Cayetano with 6%.
Also included in the survey are Marcos Jr, Kris Aquino, Lacson, and Batangas Governor and movie superstar Vilma Santos Recto, who are all tied at 5%. Senators Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada, who are both facing plunder charges in connection to the still-unresolved pork barrel fund scam, obtained ratings of 3% and 4%, respectively.
1. Keep this mind that polls taken this early (the next election is a full two years away) is rarely predictive of what will really happen in that election cycle.
Look at this example: When polling firm Social Weather Stations did a survey about Filipinos’ preferred presidential candidates in August 2008, the top three contenders where then-Vice President Noli de Castro, then-Senate President Manuel Villar, and Senator Loren Legarda.
And we all know how things eventually went: De Castro chose to retire from politics while Villar ran unsuccessfully for president with Legarda (who also lost) as his running-mate.
2. Binay have won the vice presidential race four years ago via squeaker, but he’s now certainly the hands-down favorite to be the next occupant of Malacanang.
His position is similar to that of Joseph Estrada back in 1998, or in the United States, Hillary Clinton (the former secretary of state and senator leads all her likely opponents for the 2016 presidential elections according to surveys).
Even administration die-hards like civil society leader Harvey Keh acknowledge that the ruling party needs a really strong candidate to derail his march toward the Palace.
3. The survey results couldn’t be more sobering for Roxas, the likely standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) and President Benigno Aquino III’s logical choice for successor. Until the last two weeks leading to the May 2010 polls, he looked like a sure winner in the vice presidential race.
In fact, in a Pulse Asia survey released February 4, 2010, Roxas led second-placer Legarda 47% to 28%. Binay, then serving as Makati City mayor, was in third place with only 13%. Binay eventually erased Roxas’ massive lead en route to a narrow victory.
Roxas has been criticized for many issues, from his handling of the emergency relief efforts in the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda’s devastation to his recent antics inside Wack Wack Golf and Country Club. Will LP force him to give way again, this time to …
4. To neophyte Senator Grace Poe, perhaps? As seen in the survey, FPJ’s daughter is the most popular female politician in the country today. Her “say-nothing-controversial” approach to current issues plus the enduring campaign narrative of her finishing her father’s political journey makes her a formidable contender for 2016. The question is, is she ready for prime time?