Every political junkie (Poe supporter, Poe critic, Poe-agnostic) will have to admit this: The Supreme Court decision that allowed Senator Grace Poe to run for president will give her a bump in the next polling. The pollsters will surely oblige – they will have to conduct that one critical poll after the SC decision. Mr. Moneybag will gladly commission that next survey to serve as guide on future donations.
Even Mr. Aquino, the EIC (endorser-in-chief) of Mr. Roxas, admitted the inevitability of a polling bump for Ms. Poe at a recent out-of-town talk.
Question: To what degree would her support rise in that critical polling? The level of new-found support would be very, very critical. I will explain why. I can even use the numbers in the SC vote that allowed Poe to run, six and nine.
The two true competitors of Poe in the presidential race – Mr. Binay and Mr. Duterte – should pray for a poll bump that is less than 6 percent. The lower the figure, the better for them. At this stage of the current election cycle, in an election that would be tightly fought, a major breakaway by one candidate, such as a double-digit lead will be very disastrous for the two left behind.
For the two (Binay and Duterte) to remain really competitive, a poll bump for Poe will have to be low, a figure that can be overcome by a better, superior campaign. If not the odds, would be too nightmarish and terrifying. The election is barely two months away, remember.
What kind of scenario will be frustrating for Mr. Binay and Mr. Duterte? A poll bump higher than 9 percent, or specifically a 10 percent polling bump for Poe, who is right now tied with Mr. Binay, according to the latest polling. A 40 – 30 percent race with Ms. Poe in the lead will not be good for either Mr. Binay or Mr. Duterte.
We will have to wait for the real figure with bated breath, or with great anticipation. Will the polling bump be minor, something reflective of positive media treatment of Ms. Poe’s case? Which could be temporary and fleeting? Or, will it be big enough to scare the daylight out of the Binay and Duterte supporters?
A major polling bump will do wonders for the beneficiary. It is easier to raise campaign funds, it is easier to entice institutional supporters and a major polling lead gets royal treatment from the mainstream press. The media attention the beneficiary gets is even a budget saver. It you can get free and positive media, why spend money on advertising? A so-called “positive feedback loop” goes with a major polling bump.
With the DQ case settled, the NPC’s internal debates on whether or not to stick with Poe is automatically settled. Only Mark Cojuangco will probably be the heavyweight NPC leader who will remain with Mr. Binay.
The burden of neutralizing all of these plus factors for Ms. Poe will have to borne by the non-beneficiaries, which on Ms. Poe’s case are Mr. Binay and Mr. Duterte.
Question: Of the two (Binay and Duterte), who is better suited at overcoming great political odds? The one who fights through oftentimes-heartbreaking political slogs? The veteran at overcoming great odds? Without doubt, this is the expertise of Mr. Binay. He displayed true grit in the 2010 elections and good tactical skills, too, when he came from behind to beat Mr. Roxas in the vice-presidential race. Is Mr. Binay still equipped with the tools he used in his improbable 2010 win? That will be proven by the final results.
In the current election cycle, Mr. Binay has proven that he can survive the lowest of political moments. Screaming headlines had painted him as a corrupt leader of an equally-corrupt political dynasty, a dynasty that allegedly feasted on the big-ticket public infrastructure projects in Makati City. After dropping in the polls due to the headline-frenzy to knock him out of the race for good, he has bounced back as the main competitor of Ms. Poe.
In most sections of the media, Mr. Binay is just like Hillary Clinton — there is nothing good to report about her and reports about her should be nefarious and negative. Both have survived. How Mr. Binay would play his end-game against Ms. Poe will be interesting to watch.
Mr. Duterte, in contrast, has not faced an organized slime machine throughout his career in Davao City. All of the media cower when it comes to Duterte coverage in his turf. Whether he is up to the task of overcoming a 10-point lead in polling in a national election that is just two months away, we do not know. What we know is that he has not faced that kind of challenge.
But then, to say that Mr. Duterte is helpless against formidable odds does not really reflect on his perceived image – a fighter with killer instincts.
Personal note. A “ White Paper” says I am on the payola of the Binay campaign. I don’t even know how to react. Protesting too much is useless. But I have to state a fact. I last saw Joey Salgado in 1985, a time I bench pressed 150 pounds of steel with ease. Even if we met on the street, Joey would not recognize the physical wreck that I am today.