UNIVERSITY-WIDE surveys conducted separately by the Research Cluster for Culture, Education and Social Issues and the Varsitarian showed nearly identical results, with Liberal Party standard bearer Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Manuel “Mar” Roxas II emerging as Thomasians’ top choices for president and vice president, respectively.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, meanwhile, was the top choice for senator.

Aquino got 34.7 percent in the second Political Opinion of the Youth Survey by the research cluster and 36.4 percent in the Varsitarian survey. Administration bet Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro placed second in both surveys with 33.5 percent and 31.4 percent, respectively.

Aquino’s running mate Roxas received 46.3 percent, and 40.9 percent in the research cluster and Varsitarian surveys, respectively, while re-electionist Defensor-Santiago bested all senatorial bets with 8.92 percent and nine percent.

Nacionalista Party bet Manuel Villar and Richard Gordon switched places in the two surveys. Villar ranked third in the youth survey with 10.3 percent, and fourth in the Varsitarian survey with 9.3 percent. Gordon got 7.7 percent (fourth place) and 13.8 percent (third place), respectively.

The same was true in the vice presidential race for Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and Bayani Fernando, former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman.

Fernando got 18.3 percent (second place) in the youth survey and 19.1 percent (third place) in the Varsitarian poll, while Binay had 14.4 percent (third place), and 22.5 percent (second place), respectively.

Other presidential candidates ranked as follows in the youth survey: Eddie Villanueva, 1.7 percent or fifth place; former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada (1.5 percent, sixth place); environmentalist Nicanor Perlas (0.7 percent, seventh place); Olongapo City Councilor John Carlos “JC” de los Reyes (0.2 percent, eighth place); and Sen. Ma. Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal (0.1 percent, ninth place).

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The Varsitarian poll had Estrada and Villanueva at fifth place with 0.9 percent, and Madrigal (0.4 percent, seventh place). De los Reyes had no vote, while 6.8 percent abstained. Perlas was not included in the choices since the survey was conducted just after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualified him for supposed lack of capability to run a national campaign. He was later reinstated as a candidate.

Vice presidential candidates were on the same placing in both the youth and Varsitarian surveys: Sen. Loren Legarda with 9.4 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively, at fourth place; Eduardo “Edu” Manzano (2.2 percent and 1.5 percent, fifth place); Perfecto Yasay (0.3 percent 0.4 percent, sixth place); Jose Sonza (0.2 percent on both surveys, seventh place); and Dominador Chipeco, Jr. (0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, eighth place).

Rounding up the youth survey were leading senatorial bets namely Defensor-Santiago, Franklin Drilon (6.1 percent), Pia Cayetano (six percent), Ralph Recto (5.9 percent), Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile (5.8 percent), Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. (4.4 percent), Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto Guingona III (4.1 percent), Sonia Roco (3.4 percent), Gilbert Remulla (3.3 percent), Joey de Venecia III (3.0 percent) and Muntinlupa Rep. Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon (2.9 percent)

Meanwhile, the Varsitarian survey’s top 12 senators were Defensor-Santiago, Cayetano (8.8 percent), Drilon (8.1 percent), Enrile (6.6 percent), Recto (5.8 percent), Sergio Osmeña III (5.7 percent), Marcos (5.5 percent), Guingona (4.9 percent), De Venecia (4.3 percent), Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. (four percent), Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada (3.4 percent), and Roco (three percent).

The first youth survey conducted last August had Francis “Chiz” Escudero as the top choice for president and vice president. The survey was held before Escudero’s announcement that he would no longer run for president. It did not provide choices to respondents, relying only on their recall.

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The latest youth survey, conducted from December 14 to 18, used a “close-ended method,” where respondents chose from a list based on the Comelec’s official roster of candidates.

A total of 2, 147 randomly selected students were surveyed using the UST e-Learning Access Program. The survey had a plus-minus 2.5 percent margin of error.

On the other hand, the Varsitarian survey used clustered sampling, where 15 class sections that comprised 472 students served as respondents. It was conducted from January 18 to February 8, and had a plus-minus five percent margin of error.

The youth survey also revealed that corruption remained the major issue that the next leaders should address, unchanged from the first poll.

Corruption in society ranked first in the “issues that politicians should address” category with 18.8 percent, followed by poverty (16.4 percent), education access and quality (16.2 percent), peace and order (12.1 percent), and inefficient government services (10.5 percent).

The youth survey also found an increased number of Thomasian registered voters – to 59.3 percent from 30.4 percent in August. The Varsitarian poll showed 64.2 percent of respondents are registred voters, while 36 percent said they are not.

“Campaigns in the University were also effective in having an impact on the students, in turn increasing the number of registered voters,” said research cluster director Alvin Ang. He said the increase in registered Thomasian voters is a sign that students are becoming more concerned about political issues. Andrewly A. Agaton, Jilly Anne A. Bulauan and Alexis Ailex C. Villamor, Jr. with reports from Rose May Y. Cabacang

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