So, here we are, taking a deep breath and poised to plunge into the last, best, and all-including-the-kitchen-sink stage of the 2010 elections. For all the presidential candidates, this is it–the make-or-break part of the campaign. The one to emerge from the campaign waters may well be our next president.
The SWS survey of April 16-19, 2010–and other surveys in the same period–confirms the previous SWS March surveys (commissioned and non-commissioned) and had quite a few surprises of its own. For one, Jejomar Binay overtook Loren Legarda at the second spot in the vice-presidential race. Second, the Villar counter-attack on Noynoy since the last survey did not dent the latter’s vote. Third, Erap Estrada’s figures stopped growing.
It is still a one-on-one contest for the presidency, with Erap acting as the wild card, either as a dark horse or as an arbiter of the outcome. What makes this interesting is that if he is out–voluntarily or otherwise–then who will benefit from his votes. That will certainly impact on the two running ahead of him. As it is, Erap’s continuing candidacy is a fountain of grievance for the Villar camp and a source of nervousness for the Aquino camp.
The surveys so far point to a possible landslide for Noynoy Aquino. The benchmark for me is if he reaches the 15% margin over Villar by election day–that’s a landslide. Some surveys, notably the DZRH and the Manila Standard, already showed him hovering around the percentage point. This assumes of course that the actual voters’ choices follow the preferences of the registered ones (the latter being the basis of the surveys).
The last few minutes, including the last two minutes, forces the strategies of the running presidential candidates. The leading candidate has to maintain–or even increase–the pace to provide the insurance for a clear victory. The second-placer has to pace himself and make a decisive move at a critical moment–for there is only one chance left before time runs out on him. The third-placer has nothing to lose but his third-place finish–he can go flat out in his campaign. The others may just watch the contest go by and contemplate their post-election job offers. Voters are king!