14 September 2009
In a foretaste of what could become common fare in future presidentiable surveys, Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III racked up a commanding lead by garnering 50% of respondents' votes in certain Luzon areas, equal to the combined total of all of his potential rivals. Senator Manny Villar was a far second with 14%.
The areas covered by the survey consisted of NCR, Pangasinan, Region III (Central Luzon) and Region IV-A (CALABARZON).
I don't believe we've seen this phenomenon in presidential polls before.
Some facts about the survey need to be pointed out though:
1) It was done before Noynoy Aquino formally declared his intention to run for the presidency.
2) As already stated above, it was done in Luzon only and not even in the entire Luzon island but in four vote-rich regions.
3) It was commissioned by a group of businessmen led by Ramon del Rosario, a close Cory Aquino ally.
In any event, whichever way one looks at it, a score of 50% for a then-still-undeclared candidate, in key voting areas, is something that can strike fear into the hearts of Noynoy's potential political rivals, whether they admit it publicly or not.
Any lead can be surmounted but if the person who holds the lead remains sensitive and responsive, it will be difficult to wrest from him the leadership post. If Noynoy plays his cards well by implementing his stated desire to dispose of his family's Hacienda Luisita holdings, free himself from any cordon sanitaire, widen his adviser base to include ordinary people who experience the travails of daily life, keep his feet firmly planted on the ground and his ears close to the pavement, he'll be the man to beat in 2010. Otherwise, his lead will dissipate and the people's hope for real change will come crashing down as quickly as it resurged in those heady days of August 2009.
More on this story in this 24 Oras report by Sandra Aguinaldo.