The latest SWS survey (December 27-28, 2009) is one that was commissioned by Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, a campaign strategist in the Villar camp. Commissioned or not, it is still a relevant guidestick to to the electorate’s behavior. Of course, it now waits for confirmation from other forthcoming surveys.
Taken on its face value, it indicated that Sen. Manny Villar has improved his standing by six percent to the survey’s 33% from 27% in early December 2009. Sen. Noynoy Aquino lost by two points to the survey’s 44% from 46% in early December 2009. If the survey’s error margin of 2.2% is factored in, Noynoy basically maintained his standing–something which had been the case since September 2009.
Former president Erap Estrada also essentially maintained his standing–he has 15%, losing only a single point. Former defense secretay Gibo Teodoro likewise maintained his 5% standing.
So where did Villar got his 6% increase? A little from Noynoy and Erap, more from the undecided voters. One can say that the tremendous (and very expensive) Villar media barrage during December helped achieved this.
However, the road ahead is rougher for Villar. For one, the Noynoy figures–unchanging as they are–means that Villar will have to do more than what he is doing now to bring these down. If this means throwing dirt on Noynoy, it risks a boomerang reaction from voters who have considered Noynoy as the candidate for reform. It would only solidify Noynoy’s vote. If this means strengthening his own percentages, Villar will have to cannibalize or woo Erap’s votes and also bring Gibo into his fold. At this time, there is only a little percentage left that can be categorized as undecided.
The situation here is slowly turning into a no-holds-barred political wrestling. At the same time, there is simply little time left to narrow the lead of Noynoy. When formal campaigning starts and this lead is still the same, there is an almost insurmountable problem for the Villar camp to solve–requiring dramatic and almost-a-miracle move(s) from all Noynoy’s opponents.
At this rate of the presidential race, January 2010 will decide May 2010.