Vice President Jejomar Binay maintained his lead over his rivals despite a two-percentage points slip in his ratings, the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.
In the survey held from February 5 to 7, 2016, the Vice President secured the “votes” of 29 percent of those polled.
His February rating was down by 2 percentage points from the 31 percent score he received in the January survey.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was the biggest gainer in the presidential survey with an increase of 4 percentage points in his rating to share the second spot with Sen. Grace Poe.
Duterte obtained the nod of 24 percent of the respondents in the February survey, up from the 20 percent he earned in January.
Poe also received a score of 24 percent in the SWS survey.
Trailing them was Administration candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, who suffered the biggest plunge of 3 percentage points.
Roxas, who is the Liberal Party standard-bearer, got 18 percent in the latest survey, down from his 21 percent score in January.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago garnered only 4 percent.
The survey was conducted while the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on disqualification cases filed against Poe and after Duterte campaigned hard in Metro Manila and the Luzon provinces.
Despite topping the polls, Binay will have to work harder to convey his platform to the public, his camp said.
“The recent SWS survey results confirm that the core support for the Vice President is solid and steadily growing. While the present survey results are encouraging, the Vice President is well aware that the real survey is still on election day itself,” Binay’s campaign spokesman Rico Quicho said in a statement.
“The Vice President will work even harder to convey to our people his programs that will address poverty, which remains to be the moral issue of the times. As the campaign period progresses, the Vice President remains focused on his message that competence, experience in governance and compassion are the key factors in [the]fight against poverty, and providing jobs, quality education and healthcare services,” Quicho added.
On Monday, the Binay-led United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) campaigned in the cities of Pasay and Parañaque in Metro Manila.
The camp of Duterte said the survey results showed that the people are really seeking “genuine change.”
“We are hopeful that as the campaign progresses, we would be able to continue this upward trend and gain more supporters,” Duterte’s spokesman Peter Laviña said in a statement.
“This is proof of the rising clamor for genuine change. Our country is mired in drugs, crime, corruption and poverty,” he added.
Duterte is campaigning on the platform of anti-crime and anti-corruption.
In the vice presidential race, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. gained in the latest survey, catching up with Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who had consistently topped surveys.
Marcos and Escudero were tied at 26 percent.
Escudero’s rating declined from the 28 percent he received in January.
The senator got 30 percent in the November and December surveys.
Marcos’ 26 percent, meanwhile, is up by one percent from the 25 percent he had in January.
Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, the administration’s vice presidential bet, got 19 percent, up by two points from her 17 percent score in January.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, on the other hand, got 16 percent, also two points higher than his score of 14 percent in the January survey.
They were followed by Senators Gregorio Honasan (six percent, down two points from eight percent) and Antonio Trillanes 4th (five percent, up by two percent from three percent).
Marcos said the survey results were inspiring but he vowed to even work harder.
“Every survey result keeps us inspired to work harder in the campaign. But as I have always said, the real survey will be on May 9, 2016 and that has been our focus as we continue to preserve in bringing our platform of unity to every part of the country,” he added in a statement.
Marcos, running as an independent candidate, had been “adopted” by Santiago.
Sotto still leads
In the senatorial race, reelectionist Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd remained the leading candidate with 52 percent.
He is followed by former senator and rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson (49 percent), Sen. Ralph Recto (46 percent), former senator Francis Pangilinan (42 percent) and Senate President Franklin Drilon (43 percent).
The next five preferred senatorial candidates include former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri (38 percent), Sen. Sergio Osmeña 3rd (37 percent), Filipino boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao (35 percent), former Justice secretary Leila de Lima (35 percent) and former Akbayan Representative and now PhilHealth director Risa Hontiveros (27 percent).
Four candidates fought for the last two spots of the “magic 12″ — Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona 3rd (26 percent), former senator Richard Gordon (26 percent) Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian (23 percent) and Joel Villanueva, former Technical Skills and Development Authority chief (22 percent).
The SWS polled 1,200 validated voters nationwide for the survey, which had sampling error margins of ±3 percent for national percentages, and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
With REINA TOLENTINO and CATHERINE S. VALENTE