Marcos, Duterte continue to maintain huge lead as official campaign period begins – #BotongPinoy2022
The campaign period for those running for president, vice president, senator, and party-list representative officially began this week as mandated by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). However, knowing that these candidates has been airing campaign ads and touring the nation for months already, it may be more accurate to say that we are already in the final 90 days of the election season.
Nevertheless, three months is an eternity in politics. Allegiances at the national and local level will still change for certain, depending on who gains an upperhand as the race reaches the finish line. Unfortunately, reliable pollsters Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) are both yet to publicly release new numbers this 2022 – most probably because the tightened restrictions re-imposed throughout January as a response to the resurgence of COVID-19 restricted them from doing face-to-face surveys.
However, the most recent published surveys all show that the tandem of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio of Davao City continues to maintain a huge lead over their respective rivals. In other words, if the election will be held on Valentine’s Day, then Marcos and Duterte will be elected president and vice president, respectively. Here is The Filipino Scribe‘s analysis of these top tier races as of February 2022:
Marcos continues to be the runaway frontrunner in the presidential race. As The Filipino Scribe pointed out previously, this is the reason why the Marcos camp is limiting the candidate’s participation in media events that also feature other candidates. His spokesman Vic Rodriguez even said recently that the former senator may not participate in presidential debates because it will feature nothing more than mudslinging.
Despite their alibis, the calculus for the Marcos camp is clear: he has nothing to gain and everything to lose by exposing himself to questioning from journalists like Jessica Soho and Karen Davila and from his presidential rivals. Marcos is bypassing the traditional media and instead using social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube to engage directly with his supporters. His preference for softball interviews via the likes of Toni Gonzaga and Boy Abunda is also apparent. Marcos is betting that his huge lead at present will continue to hold despite the barrage of attacks against him over his father’s human rights record, his family’s corruption cases, as well as his disqualification case.
Since she announced her candidacy for president last October, Vice President Leni Robredo has been the clear second-placer to Marcos although she remains behind by as much as 30 points. At this point, it can be said that only Robredo has a realistic shot of defeating Marcos given that Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso is now tied with Senator Manny Pacquiao for third and fourth place.
Given Marcos’ lead, Robredo’s path to becoming president does not only hinge on her being able to hold on to her current supporters and winning over a lion’s share of undecided voters. She also has to flip voters disaffected with President Rodrigo Duterte who are currently leaning toward Domagoso, Pacquiao, and Senator Panfilo Lacson. Robredo must also flip so-called “soft” Marcos supporters particularly young voters who may be leaning toward the former senator just because of name recall and familial influence.
The status of the vice presidential race will be discussed in a succeeding post.