Vice President Jejomar Binay has pulled ahead of Senator Grace Poe, his chief rival for the presidency, according to the latest pre-election survey conducted by Social Weather Stations from January 8 to 10 and was first published in BusinessWorld.
According to the polling firm, 31% of the respondents picked Binay to succeed President Benigno Aquino III. He is seven points ahead of Poe, who is the choice of 24%. The two were tied at 26% in the survey conducted last December.
Trailing Binay and Poe are former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas (22%), Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (20%), Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (3%), and OFW party-list Rep. Roy Señeres (0.1%). Their rankings have remained unchanged from last month.
This is the first time since March 2015 that Binay is alone in the first place. This also marks the highest voter share that Binay has obtained since SWS began asking its respondents for only one preferred presidential candidate (they let their respondents name three candidates prior to September 2015).
Many factors are being credited for Binay’s steady rise in recent pre-election surveys. One is his strategy of aggressive television advertising, where his camp allegedly spent close to P600 million for 2015 according to an estimate by Nielsen Media Research.
Speaking to BusinessWorld, Edmund S. Tayao, political science professor at the University of Santo Tomas, noted that Binay’s attempts to connect directly with voters may be working for him. “In the case of Vice-President Binay, he has been going around, following the traditional campaign style, and making himself seen,” Tayao said.
And as noted by Rappler.com‘s Ayee Macaraig, Binay is also benefiting from the fact that the media and the public’s attention are no longer as focused on the corruption allegations he is facing. However, that may soon change if the rumors are true that the Office of the Ombudsman will file plunder charges against him before the Sandiganbayan – something which can land him in jail.
For her part, Poe has repeatedly claimed that her decline in recent surveys can be attributable to the fact that significant number of voters who are inclined to support her already think that she is already out of the presidential race.
The Commission on Elections en banc ruled last December that she is disqualified from seeking the presidency because she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen and that she has not met the ten-year residency requirement set by the 1987 Constitution. Her camp is challenging the decision before the Supreme Court.