FORMER senators Francis "Chiz" Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano and incumbent Sen. Sherwin "Win" Gatchalian were the top three preferred Senate candidates in the survey conducted by Publicus Asia from April 19 to 21.

Escudero received support from 46.8 percent of the respondents, followed by Cayetano with 42.6 percent, and Gatchalian, 40.5 percent.

Trailing them were Antique Rep. Loren Legarda (39.1 percent), broadcaster Raffy Tulfo (38.5 percent), former Public Works and Highways chief Mark Villar (33.1 percent), Sen. Ana Theresia "Risa" Hontiveros (31.9 percent) and actor Robinhood Ferdinand "Robin" Padilla (31.5 percent).

The pollster said that Legarda slipped from the first to second-tier after a 4.2 percent preference loss but she still placed fourth overall in the senatorial race. Padilla meanwhile exceeded the 30 percent mark after a 5.8 percent gain from the previous survey conducted in early April.

They were followed by Sen. Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri, former Quezon City mayor Herbert "Bistek" Bautista, lawyer Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno, Sen. Emmanuel Joel Villanueva, former senator Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito, suspended lawyer Larry Gadon, former Defense chief Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro Jr., Sen. Richard "Dick" Gordon, former Palace spokesman Herminio "Harry" Roque Jr., former vice president Jejomar "Jojo" Binay, former senator Joseph "Jinggoy" Estrada, former Philippine National Police chief Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, and former Information and Communications Technology chief Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan 2nd.

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Bautista posted a 5 percent increase from 24.1 to 29.1 in mid-April compared to early April.

"The movements during this survey round appear to be making competition more fierce in the Competitive Zone with an average preference of 24.9 percent. There are now 13 candidates — from the 9th to 21st places — who appear to be within striking distance of the final four Senate seats," the pollster said.

The survey also revealed that 12 party-lists met the minimum 2 percent preference threshold needed to secure a seat in the House of Representatives.

These are ACT-CIS, United Senior Citizen, Ako Bicol, Kabayan, Gabriela, Kamalayan, Ako OFW, Magsasaka, Probinsyano Ako, AGAP, Tingog, and Duterte Youth.

Only ACT-CIS appeared to secure multiple seats with 6 percent, while the rest received 2 to 3 percent preference among respondents.

Publicus surveyed 1,500 respondents for the Pahayag National Tracker through purposive sampling randomly drawn from the market research panel of PureSpectrum of over 200,000 Filipinos. The final survey panel was restricted to registered voters.

Results of the survey have a ±3 percent margin of error for nationwide results.

The Manila Times is the media partner of Publicus Asia Inc.