DESPITE his controversial “joke” about the rape-slay of an Australian missionary in 1989, Davao City Mayor and presidential contender Rodrigo Duterte maintained his lead in the latest survey conducted by Pulse Asia.
The poll, held from April 16 to 20, used face-to-face interviews with 1,800 registered voters. It had a ± 2.3 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level. The survey was held the same week Duterte was bashed for his remark on the circumstances surrounding the rape and death of Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill in Davao.
Duterte garnered 35 percent, a lead of 12 percentage points over Sen. Grace Poe, who received 23 percent.
Former Interior secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd of the Liberal Party (LP) and Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance were statistically tied at third place with 17 percent and 16 percent, respectively, while Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago got 2 percent.
The survey results also indicated that undecided respondents comprised 5 percent of the total respondents.
On Sunday, a Pulse Asia survey done between April 12 and 17 was released hours before the final PiliPinas Debates 2016. In that survey, Duterte enjoyed a solo lead with 34 percent.
The survey had 4,000 respondents with an error margin of ± 1.5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.
In the April 16 to 20 survey, Pulse Asia said Duterte led in Metro Manila with 40 percent, Mindanao with 58 percent and all socioeconomic classes (43 percent in ABC, 32 percent in D and 40 percent in E).
It added that the mayor shared the lead with Roxas in the Visayas with 32 percent and 27 percent, respectively.
Poe, Binay and Duterte led in Luzon with 28 percent, 23 percent and 22 percent, respectively.
Duterte’s camp expressed confidence that no amount of black propaganda could persuade the people not to vote for Duterte.
The mayor said he was unfazed by reports that his rivals were forging a tactical alliance to bring him down.
“I am not scared and I shouldn’t be scared. If they will pull me down, they will also be pulling each other down — just like crabs. No different from the crabs that I know,” he added.
Duterte expects more attacks against him in the coming days.
“It is understandable. This is politics. These attacks will be very, very toxic,” the tough-talking mayor added.
Leoncio Evasco Jr., Duterte’s national campaign manager, said the reported alliance between two presidential candidates is the least of their concerns.
“Rody is not frazzled by this at all. We are not affected. This is something that we have been expecting because they are desperate with the unstoppable surge of Rody to the top of the race,” he added, using the mayor’s nickname.
“They can campaign together against Duterte and intensify their attacks, but in the end, we are confident that Duterte will be the last man standing.”
Meanwhile, Poe on Tuesday said results of the latest Pulse Asia survey made her more determined to go around the country and bring her message to the people.
The senator believes in surveys that show her declining numbers because it makes her focus on her campaign, she said.
“It is important for me to accept those surveys where my ratings are low so that I will not be complacent and will make me more determined,” Poe said in an interview.
In the end, according to the senator, it is the people who will decide on who deserves to lead the country.
Roxas echoed Poe’s statement, saying the only survey that will matter is on May 9.
“I am at peace that the one who will win is the one who is deserving, has plan[s]and is competent to execute these plans,” he said.
“I call on our voters who are decent, who are seeking a decent future, decent education, decent housing, [all]who are for competent and honest governance. Under our administration, we won’t just give you fish. We will teach you how to fish so that you can fend for your families. We should not put our future in the hands of someone who doesn’t listen,” Roxas added.
WITH JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA AND LLANESCA T. PANTI