By Ma. Reina Leanne Tolentino | The Manila Times
An independent research group sees two scenarios in this year's elections: a landslide win for former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. or a tight race where one candidate will win by a little over 30 percent.
"It could be a landslide for Marcos on May 9 or a tight race where we will simply have somebody at a little over 30 percent winning the presidency," Stratbase ADR Institute President Victor Andres "Dindo" Manhit said on Wednesday.
Stratbase shared research results, including the outcome of surveys conducted by Pulse Asia the Social Weather Stations.
Marcos dominated these surveys, enjoying a huge lead over his closest rival, Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo.
In the January survey released by Pulse Asia, Marcos got 60 percent voters' preference rating. Robredo was a far second with 16 percent.
He said that while Marcos led most pre-election surveys, his ranking could fall and this would result in a tight contest.
However, Manhit admitted that Marcos "can win big."
"Or Marcos slowly declines...but nobody's really gaining," he added.
Based on the presentation shown by Manhit, survey data revealed that support for Marcos peaked in December, but it later declined while Robredo's and Domagoso's numbers increased.
However, Manhit said Marcos' numbers were not declining enough "to threaten Marcos at this time."
"So the other candidates need to work harder," he added.
He said that Robredo has to find ways to improve her ranking because in some surveys, she was not the second choice candidate.
In the Pulse Asia survey, Robredo placed fourth among second choice candidates.
The top second choice candidate was Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso.
"That means that the voter preference for Leni has a ceiling such that she will not come out as a second choice," Ana Tabunda, Pulse Asia research director, had said in an interview with ANC's Headstart.
For Manhit, Robredo has to look how she can broaden support for her candidacy and break that "ceiling."
For this year's elections, the most important issue is economic, Manhit said.
"And this is reflective of the general population...75 percent are challenged by their low income," he said.