BARELY a week after the Supreme Court (SC) cleared the way for her presidential run, Sen. Grace Poe topped the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, sidelining United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard bearer and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
The pollster reported on Monday that Poe got 27 percent during the March 4 to 7 survey, three percentage points higher than her 24 percent rating in February.
Binay slid down to second place after shedding five points from the 29 percent he got last month, getting 24 percent during the March review period.
Poe and Binay, however, are still considered statistically tied.
Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd gained four points to land at third place with 22 percent while Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte got only 21 percent, suffering a three percentage point drop from his ranking last month.
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago got four percent.
In the vice presidential race, Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. were statistically tied for the top spot.
Escudero got 28 percent, up by two percentage points from the February poll, while Marcos got 26 percent, the same score he got in February.
Like Roxas, LP vice presidential bet Rep. Leni Robredo climbed five points from 19 percent in February to 24 percent this month to secure the third spot.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano placed fourth with 11 percent, followed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th at six percent, and Sen. Gregorio Honasan, five percent.
Although Poe topped the survey, she said the presidential race will be very difficult.
The senator added that she is praying that her ratings will improve.
“This elections will not be easy. The ratings of the candidates are not that far from each other,” she said.
Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Poe’s spokesman, said the senator is humbled and is grateful to her supporters.
“Their support serves as inspiration for her to continue to push for her platform of governance anchored on Gobyernong may Puso. The data from the survey will serve as guide for her next campaign moves. Our resolve is to remain focused on amplifying our message of inclusive governance,” he added.
Binay, meanwhile, said the survey results will serve as a wake-up call.
“Okay lang ‘yun [That is okay]. Natutuwa ako sa reality kasi kasama ko kayo, ‘yung nakikita ko e ‘yun ang reality [I am glad because I am with you, what I see is what is reality],” he said in an interview.
“For whatever it may be for, the survey is like a wake-up call to us,” the Vice President added.
Malacañang also welcomed the SWS poll, calling it “a snapshot of public opinion” that “reveals that the electorate is troubled by integrity questions against candidates.”
“It shows the continuing consolidation and expansion of voter preference for the tandem of continuity, integrity and reform,” Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, alluding to the LP tandem of Roxas and Robredo.
“Despite the mudslinging and concerted attacks against the administration and its record of public service, not only has the daang matuwid [straight path]coalition endured, but it is gaining ground as our fellow citizens continue to ask tough questions and demand concrete solutions from all the candidates,” he added.
The survey covered 1,800 validated voters and was held two weeks after the first presidential debate in Cagayan de Oro City and days before the Supreme Court ruled that Poe can run for President.
The survey had a ±2-point sampling error margin, making those with two percentage points difference as “statistically tied.”
Analysts had predicted that Poe will gain from the High Court’s decision.
LP-led administration coalition spokesman Ibarra Gutierrez said the survey results show that Roxas’ rating is slowly inching up.
“We’re happy about it, of course, because it is a vindication of what we have been saying all along, that we see a slow and steady rise in our survey ratings. We see the debate having an impact because it showed that Secretary Mar has thought out his plan for the country,” Gutierrez noted.
“Equally important is the fact that the campaign of Secretary Mar across the country has been taking effect. He is on the ground, relatable and is easy to have around. He’s approachable, kind and open-minded. His character is leaving an imprint and that is reflected in the surveys,” he said.
WITH JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA AND REINA TOLENTINO