Friday, March 5, 2010

Manny Villar is no Teflon guy: Villar mass balloon has burst open

The latest Pulse Asia survey this month is very, very significant for two (2) reasons: one the survey employed or mimicked the conditions which are expected in an automated elections and two, the survey was conducted barely two and a half months away from the May 10, 2010 polls. And we all know in the politics business that surveys conducted during the periods of February AND March reflect a truer pulse of the public preference than those of April.

36% favors Noynoy as President

Thirty six percent (36%) of those surveyed said they prefer Liberal party presidential candidate Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino over all others, a one percentage point drop from his previous 37% rating.

What is very significant is the monumental drop in the ratings of Nacionalista party bet Manny Villar. From a statistical tie last month, Villar dropped to 29% after being in the spotlight for his role in the highly controversial and corrupt C-5 road project. As expected, a drop in Villar's ratings benefitted former president Joseph Estrada who improved to 18%. This belies earlier statements from the Nacionalista Party that their bet will further increase in rankings following the statistical tie standing last January.

That 6% drop in Villar's ratings went to Estrada. This shows two (2) things: first Villar does not have a support base which he can confidently call his own and second, his mass base will be diluted by the improving numbers of former president Joseph Estrada.

The Liberal party therefore, must change tack and re-direct their efforts at party strengthening and continuous party building instead of worrying on attacks made by the Nacionalista party. Attacks by the Nacionalista will definitely fall by the wayside.

Meaning, Noynoy and his gang should sit comfortably in their chairs and let former president Joseph Estrada improve his media image more. Estrada has to regain his old bailiwicks, which will actually benefit the Liberals more than the Nacionalistas.

Meaning, to seal a Noynoy victory, Estrada should stay in the race. If he balks or decides to withdraw, his entire constituency will shift to Villar.

A re-invigorated Estrada campaign machinery will further dilute Villar's numbers, and expose the weakness of the Nacionalista campaign machinery. Some analysts whom I talked with in some email exchanges say the next few weeks will reflect the true base support of Villar which lies in the vicinity of 17% to about 23%. That 29% mass base support still has some segments of the Estrada constituency and if Estrada continues his media campaign and increases his media awareness and his Jeep ni Erap and Tricycle in Erap campaign machinery kicks in this March 26, this is really bad news for Villar.

A drop in Noynoy's numbers improves Gilbert Teodoro's chances

Liberal Party has to be extremely vigilant though with the 2% surge of Gilbert Gibo Teodoro.

Teodoro's numbers are improving because he is eating up a very miniscule part of Noynoy's constituency and consolidating support bases of other minor or weaker candidates such as Madrigal's, Perlas' and JC delos Reyes'. The 1% drop of Noynoy and all other weaker candidates went to Gilbert Teodoro.

To avert such situation, these candidates should probably withdraw and throw support behind Noynoy Aquino. That way, Noynoy's constituency will not be diluted nor affected by the on-going campaigns being launched by Teodoro.

Apart from this though is the fact that the highly vaulted Lakas-Kampi machinery has not kicked in and this is a comfortable 15% which is not reflected at all in the surveys. By all estimation, Teodoro has about 22-23% preference ratings in the final stretch, and surely, this will not be enough to defeat Noynoy.

The C-5 road controversy and other accusations which point to previous graft practices by Villar will continue to affect his chances. The C-5 road, "Villarroyo" and his overspending are issues which the masses understand and has in fact, caused very serious concerns and doubts about Villar. No amount of PR-related actions will avert this and I seriously think that Villar should re-study his strategies and tactics and maybe come out with activities on how to stop these issues from spilling over the urban and rural communities.