Presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. had a significant lead over his rivals in the latest Pulse Asia survey on the May 9 elections. The results, published by the polling body on March 14, not only showed Marcos getting 60% of the votes among 2,400 respondents, but also indicated the respondents to be only from lower social Class C, D, and E.
In a message sent to a Rappler on the same day, Pulse Asia President Ronald Holmes said that Class AB, or the high-income class, was not included in the survey because the niche group is pegged to be only 1% of the country's voting population. This is in addition to the challenges surveyors may face in reaching potential respondents in gated communities.
Pulse Asia Executive Director Ana Tabunda affirmed Holmes' statement in a March 15 interview with ANC. "The C is more dominant in Class ABC," said Tabunda. "There are about 10% of [Class C] voters in Class ABC. And about 70 to 75 percent in Class D. In Class E, that would be about 15 to 20 percent."
Tabunda noted that sampling the higher social class would complicate the process of proving the results of the survey "because of their small proportion in the population."
Pulse Asia did not intentionally exclude Class AB from its recent surveys, said Tabunda. "We were not able to sample them or if they were able to sample them, some of them, they may have refused," she added.
Marcos' big lead vs. Robredo's 16% rating
Tabunda commented that Marcos Jr.'s lead speaks about how he "has captured the imagination of the large percentage of our voters."
"Also, he has more than adequate resources to sustain his presence on social media, to sustain his caravans, to sustain his campaign. He has advantage, plus his name, of course, and the association to his father. He is definitely benefiting from that," said Tabunda.
Dindo Manhit, political consultant and founder and managing director of Stratbase Group, has the same analysis on Marcos' retained position in Pulse Asia's recent surveys. "Ang powerful support kay Marcos is also driven by online sentiment, e," he said in a phone call with PhilStar L!fe earlier today.
"The reason also why Marcos is strong at 60% is the coalition of forces of the the Dutertes and the Marcoses," he added, noting that President Rodrigo Duterte's supporters have shifted to Marcos since his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, became Marcos' running mate.
Next to Marcos in Pulse Asia's recent survey is Vice President Leni Robredo, who earned 15% of the respondent's approval.
"VP Leni has also been the most bullied candidate," said Manhit. "All this phenomenon we are noticing with VP Leni happened after the 24th, [after her camp's] Cebu and Bacolod rallies, so baka hindi na-capture [ang data]. And it takes time to capture the momentum of rallies."
"So what woud be critical is the March survey, kasi according to local leaders we engage with on our work, there is now some bandwagon with VP Leni. Baka may momentum na hind na-capture ng survey," Manhit added.
In her interview with ANC, Tabunda clarified that while the February Pulse Asia survey did not factor in the crowds during the rallies, "some of them will be represented" in its upcoming surveys. "They will be represented in the same proportion approximately in the population of registered voters," she added.
However, the growing support Robredo has been getting from her rallies will still not guarantee her win in the elections, according to Manhit and Tabunda.
Manhit explained, "Right now, it is still my belief it (Pulse Asia survey) could be the right number so either Marcos will win with a landslide or it could be a very tight race pagdating sa May 9. The only way for VP Leni to win is very tight."
Meanwhile, Tabunda said, "Statistically speaking, if there are only 5% gap away from him (Marcos), they would be statistically tight to him and that would make it easier to overtake."
Asked how likely would there be a decline in Marcos' rating, Tabunda responded, "It's not impossible, but the probability is not large."