Aquino and Villar go head to head in latest surveys

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino topped the latest poll sponsored by the Liberal Party (LP), reports GMA News. The LP candidate allegedly led the national survey by 11% over the Nacionalista Party's (NP) standard-bearer Senator Manuel "Manny" Villar.

The survey, conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) of London, from January 28 to February 3, with 3,000 respondents, placed Aquino at the head of the pack with 42% followed by Villar with 31%. In third place was former president Joseph "Erap" Estrada with 12%.

LP campaign manager Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan told GMA News, "The results of the survey confirm our long-standing position that our people yearn for real change in their lives and aspire for a new direction for our nation."

Another poll conducted by the independent survey firm the Issues and Advocacy Center (The Center) had different results. Senators Aquino and Villar reportedly shared a statistical tie of 27% based on the feedback of their 1,800 respondents.

The Center director Ed Malay told GMA News that heavy advertising could have potentially swayed the voters' decisions. "Our top two contenders are currently tied, for the simple reason that if you look at the advertising factor, for the whole month of January, Villar practically consumed 460 minutes of airtime." Malay told the Manila Bulletin that Villar's media-driven campaign helped him close the gap between previous poll-leader Senator Aquino.

In a separate interview with the Bulletin, Villar attributed his good rankings to his self-sponsored campaign. He said that his ads were neither distorted nor exaggerated, but instead a true depiction of his rise from poverty. "My television commercials are also not merely a storyboard, but my life story. The jingle 'Naging Mahirap' for instance is composed especially for me. I told my life story to the composer, then the song was made."

Malay noted that the presidential election might end up as a five-way race with Estrada at the third spot with 17%, followed by Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro and Senator Richard "Dick" Gordon with 14% and 8% of the votes respectively.

"No one can be sure up to the last minute because this is an automated election. For your vote to be counted, you'd have to be careful with shading the circles in the ballot," Malay told GMA News.

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In The Center's survey, for the vice presidential race, Senator Mar Roxas reportedly led the polls at 37% with Senator Loren Lagarda in second with 28%. NP candidate Legarda told GMA News that she's not concerning herself with surveys, stating that they're merely a part of an on-going psychological warfare or "psywar."

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"Psywar ito, media war ito. Kailangang ilabas ang balita na sila ang na sa front page para kunwari malakas, pa rin sila (This is psywar, a media war. They had to release this news to land on the front page and appear as if they still have the people's votes)."

  

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