SUPPORT for the presidential candidacy of former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. remains solid as he again led the latest survey conducted by Laylo Research.
Based on the survey held from April 14 to 20, Marcos got the vote of 64 percent of the respondents.
The poll showed Marcos gaining 3 percentage points from his March performance of 61 percent, putting him 43 percentage points ahead of his nearest rival.
Trailing Marcos at a very distant second place is Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo, who garnered 21 percent voter preference.
The other presidential contenders got single-digit voter preference from the 3,000 respondents of the survey, particularly Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso and Sen. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, who tied for third place with 5 percent each.
They were followed by Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson who obtained 2 percent voter preference.
"With less than two weeks before the elections, Marcos' surging poll numbers make it very likely for him to breach the 70 percent voter preference mark in the succeeding editions of the survey," the Marcos camp said.
In the survey, Marcos also continued to dominate all the major voting areas with 62 percent voter preference in the National Capital Region, 80 percent in North Central Luzon, 46 percent in South Luzon and Bicol, 57 percent in the Visayas, and 75 percent in Mindanao.
"The Laylo survey results reinforced the observations made by political pundits that Marcos' numbers are continuing to firm up as elections near," the Marcos camp said.
"This means that majority of Marcos' voters have made up their minds and are not likely to switch despite the barrage of negative propaganda directed against their candidate," it added.
Similarly, in the survey results released by PUBLiCUS Asia on Tuesday, Marcos' firm voters rose by 10 percent, from 70 percent in February to 80 percent this April.
David Yap, PUBLiCUS Asia's chief data scientist, said the increase in vote firmness means that voters become more committed to their chosen candidate.
"I think it is something that all of us voters can attest to that as election date nears we firm up our support, we firm up our preferences and we become more and more committed to the choices that we have made thus far," Yap said.
"It's a very common occurrence among voters that as election day nears, they become more and more convinced of who they are voting for," he added.
The survey conducted by PUBLiCUS from April 19 to 21 showed that the withdrawal of any presidential candidate may not necessarily affect the current ranking.
Yap said that the second choice preference of voters varies even if they have similar first choice bets.
"I think it's important to disabuse people of the notion that if one candidate withdraws, then unambiguously all of his voters will switch to another candidate. It's important to note that people have different preferences, and pivotal events such as the withdrawal of a candidate would have consequences that would usually depend on the personal preferences and personality of the individual voter," he said.
Results of the survey showed that if Robredo withdraws, her supporters will split primarily among labor leader Leodegario "Ka Leody" de Guzman (17 percent), Domagoso (18 percent) and Senator Lacson (21 percent).
If Domagoso withdraws, the bulk of his supporters will switch to Lacson (33 percent), while the remainder will split between Robredo (20 percent) and Marcos (16 percent).
The survey also revealed that if Marcos withdraws, his supporters will switch to Domagoso and Lacson (24 percent each) with a few to Robredo (7 percent) and Senator Pacquiao (5 percent).
Yap said that despite Marcos and Robredo being "diametrically opposed," the withdrawal of either one from the race may correspond to a vote switch to the other.
"There are a significant enough proportion of respondents who would actually choose as their second choice, either Marcos or Robredo after supporting the other candidate in the first round. So, basically, we're seeing here that, for example, if former senator Marcos would withdraw, 7 percent of respondents who chose him as their presidential bet, would actually choose Robredo. And if Vice President Robredo would withdraw, 8 percent of her support would go to former senator Marcos," he said.
He also pointed out that the survey results also revealed that some voters have the same first and second choice candidates, which could translate to them not necessarily changing their vote even if their bet withdraws from the race. This corresponds to 16 percent for Marcos, 8 percent for Robredo, and 12 percent for Domagoso.
"Some people would just opt out of the voting exercise entirely because their first choice would no longer be available. So that's another point to consider," he added.
PUBLiCUS surveyed 1,500 respondents through purposive sampling randomly drawn from the market research panel of PureSpectrum of over 200,000 Filipinos.
Results of the survey have a ±3 percent margin of error for nationwide results.
WITH KAITHREEN CRUZ