If pre-election surveys are accurate, there is a two-man race for the country’s next president, with former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. leading in the polls and Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo ahead of the rest of the pack.

With the campaign period for the 2022 elections coming to a close on May 7, a political science expert said Marcos, Robredo and the rest of the candidates should make sure their last-minute campaign strategies would help secure votes.

According to Asst. Prof. Dennis Coronacion, chairman of the UST Department of Political Science, the camp of poll frontrunner Marcos should “try [its] best to prevent defections from happening.”

“[Marcos’s] campaign strategies should focus on securing the gains of his campaign and ensuring that the projected votes will turn into actual votes. He also doesn’t need to change his narrative at this point,” Coronacion told the Varsitarian.

Marcos remained the frontrunner Pulse Asia’s latest presidential survey conducted from April 16 to 21, with 56 percent of respondents picking him as their choice for president.

Robredo was the second-most-preferred candidate, mustering 23 percent.

They were followed by Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao (7 percent), Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, (4 percent), Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson (2 percent), Faisal Mangondato and Ernesto Abella (both 1 percent), and Leody de Guzman, Jose Montemayor and Norberto Gonzales (all less than 1 percent).

For Robredo to catch up to Marcos, Coronacion said the vice president’s camp should sustain the momentum they had built with house-to-house campaigns and the huge crowd turnouts in her political sorties.

“They should also try to persuade the political leaders of the other candidates whose support for them [is] not that solid,” he said. “[Securing support from local leaders] is important since it is widely acknowledged that these local leaders can deliver the votes for the national candidates

The other candidates who lag behind surveys could revise their messages to attract more voters and resonate better with the public, Coronacion added.

Francis Dee, a former political science professor at the University of the Philippines who is now part of Robredo’s campaign team, said the vice president’s camp was positive people could still change their minds.

“Looking at Marcos’ lead over Robredo [in surveys], there’s no historical precedent for someone that ahead, at this point of the game, to lose on the final day,” Dee said. “[But] people are people, human beings can change their minds.”

In 2016, Robredo overtook Marcos in Pulse Asia’s pre-election surveys by the end of April 2016 and won the vice-presidential race.

Coronacion said Marcos should not be “complacent” about his lead.

“BBM’s survey numbers are formidable, but it should not be a reason for him to be complacent,” he said. “There are no signs that VP Robredo’s camp is relaxing its efforts.”

Pulse Asia’s surveys saw Robredo jump 9 percentage points, from 15 percent in February to 24 percent in March. Her numbers dropped 1 percentage point to 23 percent in April.

The campaign period for the 2022 polls will end on May 7. The national elections will be held on May 9. Christine Joyce A. Paras


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