By Catherine S. Valente | The Manila Times
THE front-runner to be the next president of the Philippines, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., has widened his lead in the latest opinion poll conducted five months before the 2022 national elections.
The second-wave pre-election survey of the DZRH Desisyon 2022, conducted nationwide on December 11 to 12, showed that Marcos is the preferred choice, over seven other candidates, to be the country's 17th president, with 49.2 percent of respondents saying that they will vote for him.
Second to Marcos, Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo got 16.2 percent while Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso placed third by earning 10.4 percent voters' preference rating.
Sen. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao placed fourth with a voters' preference rating of 8.2 percent followed by Sen. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, who had withdrawn his certificate of candidacy on Tuesday), with 5.8 percent and 4.9 percent for Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson.
Retired general Antonio Parlade and labor leader Leody De Guzman managed to earn less than one percent with voters' preference ratings of 0.5 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, while 4.5 percent of the respondents were undecided.
The latest nationwide pre-election survey of the DZRH Desisyon 2022 has a sample size of 7,614 respondents from the 17 regions all over the country, with a margin of error of 1.13 percent.
The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer enjoyed the lead in Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR), 75.3 percent; Ilocos Region, 74.7 percent; Davao Region, 68.3 percent; and Cagayan Valley, 64.3 percent.
Four regions gave Marcos more than fifty percent voters' preference ratings, including Calabarzon, 50.8 percent; Eastern Visayas, 56.1 percent; Northern Mindanao, 57.0 percent; and S0CCSKSARGEN (Region 12), 54.4 percent.
While Robredo, a full-blooded Bicolana, topped in Bicol Region with a voters' preference rating of 57.6 percent, Marcos still got a significant rating at 23.8 percent.
In terms of percentage, there were more in the Bicol Region (23.8 percent) preferring Marcos for president than those in the Ilocos Region preferring Robredo for president (10.5 percent).
Robredo got a rating of 10.1 percent in the National Capital Region (NCR) while Domagoso, 26.8 percent.
But the survey showed that a lesser number in the Bicol Region (5.6 percent) prefer Domagoso for president than those who prefer Robredo for president in the NCR (10.1 percent).
Of the 17 regions, Domagosos earned single-digit percentage voters' preference ratings in seven regions, including Regions 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and CAR.
Likewise, Robredo also got seven single-digit percentage voters' preference ratings out of the 17 regions that include CAR, Caraga (Region 13), Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, and Regions 9. 10, 11 and 12.
With the highest voters' preference rating in CAR at 75.3 percent, Marcos' lowest preference rating is 23.8 percent in the Bicol Region.
The survey was conducted days before Go, President Rodrigo Duterte's preferred successor, filed his formal withdrawal from the presidential race in the 2022 polls.
Go in late November said he was dropping out of the race because he did not want Duterte to be "trapped in the middle."
The senator earlier filed his certificate of candidacy for vice president but later opted to seek the presidency.
Duterte's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who is running for vice president, opted to team up with Marcos.
The Chief Executive has branded Marcos a "weak leader," while praising Go as "honest" and hard-working.
He categorically said he was not supporting Marcos' presidential bid in an interview on November 14.
Marcos' candidacy is being questioned at the Commission on Elections over his tax evasion conviction in 1995.