SENATOR Benigno Aquino III has maintained a double-digit lead over Senator Manuel Villar Jr. in the race for the presidency, the latest poll commissioned by Standard Today shows.
The nationwide face-to-face survey of 2,500 respondents conducted from Dec. 6 to 12 showed Aquino with 46 percent of the vote, followed by Villar with 27 percent and ousted President Joseph Estrada with 17 percent. Administration candidate Gilberto Teodoro garnered 5 percent.
The survey has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.
All candidates improved from the previous Standard Today poll in November, picking up votes that had gone to Senator Francis Escudero, who has dropped out of the race, and from the ranks of the undecided, which fell to only 2 percent from 4 percent last month.
In the December poll, Aquino picked up 5 percent, Villar 3 percent, Estrada 5 percent, and Teodoro 2 percent. Evangelist Eduardo Villanueva, who was unlisted in November, managed 2 percent in December. Senators Richard Gordon and Jamby Madrigal each got less than 1 percent.
“The most often cited reason for voting for Aquino is still the legacy of his parents Cory and Ninoy and his perceived untainted image,” said Pedro Laylo, Standard Today’s resident pollster.
“Villar voters persist in their view that he can best help the poor and best advocate the welfare of [migrant workers].
“Estrada voters cling to his pro-poor image. Teodoro voters resolutely see him as smart, intelligent and capable.”
In the vice presidential race, Senator Manuel Roxas II maintained a slim lead with 41 percent over Senator Loren Legarda, with 37 percent. Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay came in third with 9 percent, followed by administration candidate Edu Manzano with 3 percent, Bayani Fernando with 2 percent, and Perfecto Yasay with 1 percent.
Roxas and Legarda gained 12 and 13 percentage points from the withdrawal of Escudero and Vice President Noli de Castro.
About 75 percent of the respondents felt it was important to vote for a president and vice president from the same ticket, Laylo noted.
“Upon further analysis of the votes, the results show that there is a significant number of voters who indeed chose a president and a vice president coming from the same political party or group,” he said.
With five months before the 2010 elections, as many as 48 percent could still change their minds, the Standard Today poll showed. Of the 46 percent who said they would vote for Aquino, 22 percent said they might change their minds. Some 13 percent of Villar’s 27 percent and 8 percent of Estrada’s 17 percent said they might shift their votes as well.
Across demographics, Aquino dominates the presidential race with relatively higher vote shares in Visayas and among the upper and middle classes, the survey shows.
Villar has closed the gap in Northern and Central Luzon and leads among the Aglipayans and Protestants.
Despite their reputation for bloc voting, the members of the Iglesia ni Cristo are split among Aquino, Villar and Estrada. Teodoro’s best score is among Protestants.
In the vice presidential race, Roxas leads in the Visayas and among the upper and middle classes, mirroring the results for Aquino in his run for the presidency.
Legarda leads in Northern and Central Luzon, much like Villar’s good showing in the same areas, and she is closing the gap in the Bicol region and in Mindanao.
Binay’s best showing is in Metro Manila, where he ranks second, while Manzano gets a relatively higher percent vote among Protestants. By religion, Legarda is more favored among the Iglesia, the Aglipayans and Muslims. –Manila Standard Today