On Tuesday, February 9, 2010, the official campaign for the national elective positions will begin. Of course, this is an anti-climactic event–even a non-event since people (and voters) knew all along that the national campaign started more than two years ago.
What promises to inject to what otherwise ho-hum affair is the perception that there will now be a real race for the presidency between LP’s Noynoy Aquino and NP’s Manny Villar. This perception is based on the latest Pulse Asia survey of January 22-26, 2010.
This particular survey showed that Aquino had only 37% and lost 8% or 4 million votes since the earlier December 8-10, 2009 where he got 45%. Villar, on the other hand, had 35% and gained 6 million votes since the December survey where he got only 23%.
The SWS had its own survey–with essential the same question–last January 21-24, 2010. In this survey, it showed that Aquino had 42% and lost 2 million votes from its survey of December 5-10, 2009 where he got 46%. Villar, on the other hand, had 35% and gained 4 million votes since the December survey where he got 27%.
The two surveys–assuming the soundness of their methodologies and the security of their field implementation–are supposed to produce the same results given the same periods of their December and January surveys, the same margin of error of 2.2%, and the basically the same question they asked. However, there is a significant discrepancy beyond the margin of error in the survey results.
First, Villar’s Pulse Asia ratings shoot up 12 percentage points while his SWS ratings only manage a 7 percentage point increase. Second, Aquino’s Pulse Asia ratings dropped by 8 percentage points while his SWS ratings only had a 4 percentage point-drop.
The two surveys agreed on the Aquino loss and the Villar gain. However, the numbers on the actual degree of loss or gain is not conclusive.
What remains is the perception that Villar has caught up with Aquino. This is courtesy of the Pulse Asia survey.
The start of the presidential campaign therefore will become a tit-for-tat, drag-down, bitchy campaign. Perception or not, the two contenders and their supporters cannot afford to lose an opportunity, exploit an opening or vulnerability of the opponent, or to fail to defend from the other side’s thrust, counter-thrust or offensive.
The first one to blink loses the presidency.