January 2022 Nationwide Survey on the May 2022 Elections

Pulse Asia Research, Inc. is pleased to share with you some findings on the May 2022 Elections from the January 2022 Pulso ng Bayan Pre-Electoral national survey. We request you to assist us in informing the public by disseminating this information.

The survey fieldwork was conducted from January 19 – 24, 2022 using face-to-face interviews.

In the first three (3) weeks of January 2022, the following developments preoccupied Filipinos:

1. The Philippines was again classified as “high risk” for COVID-19 during this period with the daily number of COVID-19 cases on an upward trend, reaching its peak at 39,004 as reported by the Department of Health on 15 January 2022. By the time all the interviews for the present survey were completed, the daily case number was down to 24,938, with the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country reaching 3,442,056 and the total number of deaths at 53,519. The increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country was due primarily to the Delta and Omicron variants. Several Metro Manila hospitals once again reached 100% capacity while some government agencies and private businesses had to adjust their operating hours due to their employees contracting COVID-19. The DOH reported that most COVID-19 positive cases in the intensive care units of hospitals involved unvaccinated individuals.

Face-to-face classes were suspended starting 03 January 2022 in places under Alert Level 3, with some public and private schools going on a health break beginning 11 January 2022 amidst the rising number of teachers, staff, and students getting ill with COVID-19. Effective 14 January 2022 (or 16 January 2022, depending on the area concerned), the Alert Level 3 status of Metro Manila, Cavite, Baguio City, and 80 other areas in the country was extended until the end of the month.

With the increase in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, local chief executives approved a resolution restricting the movement of unvaccinated individuals under Alert Level 3. President Rodrigo R. Duterte ordered the arrest of unvaccinated individuals who go out of their homes for non-essential purposes. Beginning 18 January 2022, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) implemented a “no vaccine, no ride” policy in public transportation within Metro Manila while the region is under Alert Level 3 or higher. The said policy was questioned by various sectors, including the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), but the DOTr insisted that it is authorized to take measures “to maintain and preserve safe travel”. However, despite the rise in COVID-19 case, the DOTr allowed public utility vehicles (PUVs) in Metro Manila to retain its 70% passenger capacity.

In addition, health officials called on local government officials to speed up their COVID-19 vaccination, particularly for senior citizens, children aged 5 to 11 years old, and those who are eligible for booster shots. Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. assured the public that the Philippines has a “steady supply” of vaccines, with more than 101 million doses being stored in warehouses nationwide. The national vaccination target for the country to achieve immunity is around 77,000,000 individuals. As of 13 January 2022, over 54.4 M Filipinos or 70% of the target population have been fully vaccinated. On 20 January 2022, the government began pilot testing the “Resbakuna sa Botika” initiative, with COVID-19 vaccination taking place in selected pharmacies in Metro Manila.

During this period, other COVID-related developments include: (1) reports of shortage in the supply of medicines such as paracetamol in the market, a rise in the prices of COVID-19 testing kits, and an increase in demand for home testing; (2) the filing of criminal complaints by the Philippine National Police (PNP) against a Filipino woman who violated quarantine regulations as well as her parents and several other individuals who allegedly helped her avoid the quarantine requirement upon her return from the United States (US) in late December 2021 and against another quarantine violator who flew in from the US on 22 December 2021; (3) the cancellation of the Traslacion, or the processing honoring the Black Nazarene, for the second straight year and the closure of the Quiapo Church from 07-09 January 2022 to prevent devotees from gathering in the area; (4) the warning issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) that while the Omicron variant may be less lethal than the Delta variant, it is more transmissible and, as such, is more likely to lead to the emergence of more dangerous variants; (5) the granting of a compassionate special permit for the use of Bexovid, a generic version of the antiviral pill developed by Pfizer, by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and (6) the admission by Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta that she is still unvaccinated against COVID-19 and the call made by Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III for the PAO Chief to get vaccinated given her age and existing comorbidities.

2. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) rejected a petition filed by the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) wing led by Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi to reopen the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) and postpone the printing of ballots for the 2022 elections scheduled on 17 January 2022. The PDP-Laban, which does not have a standard-bearer in the coming elections, claimed the COMELEC should reopen the filing of COCs and postpone the printing of ballots since there are still unresolved disqualification cases filed before the poll body. The COMELEC en banc dismissed the petition on the grounds that the arguments raised by the PDP-Laban lacked merit. On 22 January 2022, the PDP-Laban Cusi wing adopted Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte as its official candidate for vice-president in May 2022.

With the removal of the names of five (5) presidential hopefuls, the COMELEC’s list of candidates for the May 2022 elections, as of 11 January 2022, included 10 presidential candidates, nine (9) vice-presidential bets, 64 senatorial aspirants, and 178 party-list groups. It was not until 25 January 2022 that the COMELEC released the names of all candidates to be included in the official ballot for the coming polls. The official election period began on 09 January 2022 and with it the implementation of the nationwide gun ban that will last until 08 June 2022.

The COMELEC also denied reports that there was a breach in its servers and that data that could affect the outcome of the May 2022 elections were stolen. COMELEC Spokesperson James Jimenez expressed confidence in the security of their systems as he pointed out that the data allegedly stolen by the hackers did not yet exist in its servers. After inspecting the COMELEC warehouse in Laguna, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Officer-in-Charge said they found no evidence of hacking of the COMELEC servers.

3. On 17 January 2022, the COMELEC Second Division unanimously dismissed a petition to cancel the COC of former Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. over his tax offense conviction. The COMELEC decision said when the latter stated in his COC that he is eligible to run for president because he has not been convicted of any crime punishable by perpetual disqualification from holding public office, he did not “mislead or deceive” the public. On 24 January 2022, civic leaders, represented by Atty. Theodore Te, filed a motion for partial reconsideration before the COMELEC en banc.

Former Senator Marcos did not join other presidential candidates in a taped televised interview that aired on 22 January 2022 on GMA Network because he claims the host, Ms. Jessica Soho, is “biased” against him and his family. The latter’s spokesperson said former Senator Marcos is willing to join any forum that focuses on the nation’s problems and the presidential candidates’ proposed solutions. In one such forum, former Senator Marcos disclosed that he has no plans to release his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) to the public because it would only be used for political attacks.

4. The presidential bid of Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo was endorsed by 23 former government officials, including 14 former Cabinet secretaries under the Ramos administration. In a statement, the said former government officials said Vice-President Robredo is “the only presidential candidate … who can credibly lead us Filipinos” toward a “unified, humane, just, progressive, economically vibrant, sustainable, and equitable society that is the dream of every Filipino”. Meanwhile, a Japan-based global investment bank said that Vice-President Robredo will be a “more market-friendly president” than former Senator Marcos given the Vice-President’s experience at the national level and her strategic roadmap that gives priority to vital sectors such as health and education.

5. Data released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in January 2022 indicate that Typhoon Odette, which made its initial landfall on 16 December 2021 in Siargao Island and devastated the Visayas and Mindanao as well as parts of Luzon, caused damages to agriculture and infrastructure estimated at P 28.676 B. Telecommunication services in affected areas are nearly back to normal while the National Electrification Administration (NEA) said power supply is not yet complete restored, with several affected areas still experiencing partial power interruptions affected 3.7 million households.

6. In economic and financial developments, the start of the year saw an increase in taxes on cigarettes and alcohol products as provided for under Republic Act No. 11346 or the Tobacco Tax Law of 2019. Among others, this meant an increase in the excise tax on cigarettes from P 50 per pack in 2021 to P 55 in 2022, on e-cigarettes from P 27.50 per pack to P 30, on distilled alcoholic products from P 47 per proof litter to P 52, and on fermented liquors from P 37 per litter to P 39. Oil prices were also on the rise this month, with the third round of price hikes taking effect on 18 January 2022. This saw an adjustment in the prices per liter of gasoline by P 0.90, diesel by P 1.80, and kerosene by P 2.30. On a positive note, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) customers will pay less for their January 2022 electric consumption due to refunds order by regulators as well as lower generation charges.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) disclosed that it surpassed its 2021 collection target by 4.7% or P 29.016 B, with 13 out of 17 BOC collection districts exceeding their annual collection target. This development was attributed by the BOC to, among others, improved valuation, better enforcement operations against illegal importations, and improved compliance with customs laws by traders.

Data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on 06 January 2022 showed that the country posted its lowest inflation rate for the year 2021 in December 2021 at 3.6%. This was attributed to the slower annual increase in the indices for food and non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic beverages and tobacco, clothing and footwear, health, and transport, among others. Despite this development, the full-year average inflation rate of 4.5% not only surpassed the government’s target range of between 2% and 4% but was also higher than the average 2020 inflation rate of 2.6%.

On 19 January 2022, the local currency closed at P 51.50 vis-à-vis the American dollar, matching the 16 March 2020 figure or during the start of the pandemic. The depreciation of the Philippine peso was attributed to geopolitical risks in the Middle East, which resulted in higher oil prices. Some traders also said the local currency market was cautious due to expectations of rates hikes from the US Federal Reserve.

This nationwide survey is based on a sample of 2,400 representative adults 18 years old and above. It has a ± 2% error margin at the 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for each of the geographic areas covered in the survey (i.e., Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) have a ± 4% error margin, also at 95% confidence level. Those interested in further technical details may refer to our website (www.pulseasia.ph)

Pulse Asia Research’s pool of academic fellows takes full responsibility for the design and conduct of the survey, as well as for analyses it makes based on the survey data. In keeping with our academic nature, no religious, political, economic, or partisan group influenced any of these processes. Pulse Asia Research undertakes pre-election surveys on its own without any party singularly commissioning the research effort.

For any clarification or questions, kindly contact Ana Maria Tabunda, Research Director of Pulse Asia Research at 09189436816 or Ronald D. Holmes, Pulse Asia Research President via Viber or Telegram at +639189335497 or at ronald.holmes@gmail.com (via email).

Former Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. retains the lead in the January 2022 pre-election survey of Pulse Asia Research while Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso enjoys the highest second-choice voter preference

With the support of 60% of the country’s registered voters who are likely to cast their ballot in May 2022, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. would be elected as the next Philippine president if the elections took place during the survey period. The latter enjoys the lead in all geographic areas and socio-economic groupings (53% to 66% and 50% to 61%, respectively). In second place is Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo, whose own presidential bid is backed by 16% of likely voters. The Vice-President posts double-digit voter preferences across geographic areas and socio-economic classes (16% to 19% and 16% to 18%, respectively), with Mindanao being the exception (8%). (Please refer to Table 1.)

The following candidates running for president in the May 2022 elections each register voter preferences of at most 8% – Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao (8%), Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso (8%), Senator Panfilo Lacson (4%), Mr. Faisal Mangondato (0.3%), former Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella (0.05%), and Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) Chairperson Leodegario de Guzman (0.02%). Former Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Norberto Gonzales and Dr. Jose Montemayor, Jr. receive essentially no support from the country’s electorate. The rest of likely voters are still undecided about their choice for president in May 2022 (2%), refuse to identify their preferred presidential bet (1%), or are not inclined to vote for any candidate for the post (1%).

Should their original choice for president withdraw from the elections, 24% of voters with a first choice for president would instead vote for Manila Mayor Domagoso. Second place in terms of second-choice voter preferences is shared by Senator Lacson (14%), Senator Pacquiao (14%), Vice-President Robredo (13%), and former Senator Marcos (10%). The other presidentiables each record alternative voting figures of less than 1% – Mr. Mangondato (0.4%), BMP Chairperson de Guzman (0.2%), former Presidential Spokesperson Abella (0.1%), former DND Secretary Gonzales (0.04%), and Dr. Montemayor (0.02%). The rest of likely voters do not have a second-choice presidential bet (20%), are ambivalent about their alternative candidate for the post (5%), or refuse to name their second-choice presidential candidate (0.4%). (Please refer to Table 2.)

In the rest of Luzon, a sizeable plurality of likely voters (34%) are undecided about their second choice for president/refuse to identify their preferred alternative presidential candidate/are not inclined to vote for another presidential bet if their original candidate withdraws from the elections. In Mindanao and Class E, virtually the same second-choice voter preferences are registered by Manila Mayor Domagoso (24% to 27%) and Senator Pacquiao (22% to 25%). However, about the same percentages of voters in these subgroupings express indecision as regards their second choice for president/refuse to name their alternative presidential candidate/are not inclined to support a second-choice presidential bet (18% to 20%).

While Manila Mayor Domagoso has the highest second-choice voting figures in Classes C and D (36% and 22%, respectively), practically the same percentages of voters belonging to these socio-economic groupings cannot say who is their alternative presidential candidate/do not want to identify their second-choice presidential bet/are not voting for an alternative candidate for the post (22% to 26%). Manila Mayor Domagoso and Senator Pacquiao enjoy the highest second-choice voter preferences in the Visayas (26% and 21%, respectively). In Metro Manila, the leading alternative presidential bets are Manila Mayor Domagoso (25%), Senator Lacson (18%), and Vice-President Robredo (16%). On the other hand, a quarter of Metro Manilans (25%) are undecided regarding their second choice for president/refuse to name their alternative candidate for the post/are not likely to support a second-choice presidential bet.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte is the frontrunner in the May 2022 vice-presidential race while Senate President Vicente Sotto III posts the highest second-choice voting figure

Half of the country’s likely voters (50%) are inclined to elect Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte as the successor of Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo. Meanwhile, the vice-presidential bid of Senate President Vicente Sotto III has the support of almost a third of those likely to vote in May 2022 (29%). Around a tenth (11%) would vote for Senator Francis Pangilinan if the May 2022 elections coincided with the conduct of the survey interviews. The other vice-presidential candidates each register voter preferences of at most 5% – Dr. Willie Ong (5%), Buhay Party-List Representative Jose Atienza, Jr. (1%), Mr. Emmanuel Lopez (0.1%), Atty. Carlos Serapio (0.1%), former Akbayan Party-List Representative Walden Bello (0.02%), and Mr. Rizalito David (0.02%). Indecision/refusal/non-support in relation to one’s original vice-presidential preference are sentiments shared by 3% of likely voters. (Please refer to Table 3.)

Across geographic areas and socio-economic classes, near to huge majority voter preferences are obtained by Davao City Mayor Duterte in the Visayas (47%), Mindanao (84%), and every socio-economic grouping (49% to 55%). In contrast, the latter and Senate President Sotto have nearly the same first-choice voter preferences in Metro Manila (40% versus 36%) and the rest of Luzon (36% versus 37%).

Likely voters with a first choice for vice-president are most inclined to choose Senate President Sotto (35%) as their alternative candidate for the post. Three (3) other vice-presidential bets enjoy double-digit second-choice voting figures – Davao City Mayor Duterte (15%), Senator Pangilinan (14%), and Dr. Ong (11%). The rest of the candidates for vice-president post alternative levels of electoral support of at most 3% – Buhay Party-List Representative Atienza (3%), former Akbayan Party-List Representative Bello (0.5%), Mr. Lopez (0.3%), Mr. David (0.3%), and Atty. Serapio (0.1%). On the other hand, 17% of likely voters do not have a second-choice vice-presidential candidate, 3% are ambivalent on the matter of whom to vote for if their original candidate withdraws from the elections, and 0.2% refuse to name their alternative vice-presidential bet. (Please refer to Table 4.)

Senate President Sotto is the leading second-choice candidate for vice-president in the Visayas (45%), Mindanao (43%), Class D (34%), and Class E (45%). In Metro Manila, the highest alternative voting figures are enjoyed by Dr. Ong (23%), Davao City Mayor Duterte (22%), and Senate President Sotto (20%). While 30% of those in the rest of Luzon identify Senate President Sotto as their alternative vice-presidential bet, 29% are undecided regarding their second choice for the post/refuse to name their alternative vice-presidential candidate/are disinclined to vote for another candidate should their original choice back out of the elections. As for those in Class C, the highest second-choice voting figures are recorded by Senate President Sotto (32%) and Senator Pangilinan (17%) while 18% are undecided about their alternative vice-presidential bet/do not identify their second-choice candidate for the post/are disinclined to vote for any alternative candidate for vice-president.

A small majority of likely voters (53%) have a complete slate for the May 2022 senatorial election; 13 out of the 64 senatorial candidates have a statistical chance of winning, with Mr. Raffy Tulfo enjoying solo 1st place (66.1%)

As of January 2022, a little over half of likely voters (53%) are naming 12 of their preferred candidates for the Senate (i.e., out of a maximum of 12). Majority figures are recorded in Metro Manila (60%), the Visayas (74%), Mindanao (75%), Class C (53%), and Class E (73%). The country’s likely voters are identifying a mean of 9 and a median of 12 of their favored senatorial bets. Across geographic areas and socio-economic classes, mean figures vary from 7 to 11 and 9 to 10, respectively. Meanwhile, median figures in the same subgroupings range from 8 to 12 and 11 to 12, respectively. (Please refer to Table 5.)

Among the 64 individuals seeking a senatorial seat in the May 2022 elections, 13 have a statistical chance of winning. Most of the probable winners are either incumbent or former members of Congress. Currently enjoying solo 1st place is Mr. Raffy Tulfo, who enjoys the support of 66.1% of likely voters. Sharing 2nd to 4th places are Taguig City-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano (58.2%) and Antique Representative Loren Legarda (58.0%). Sorsogon Governor Francis Escudero’s voter preference of 55.7% translates to a statistical ranking of 2nd to 5th places while former Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Mark Villar occupies 4th to 6th places, with a voter preference of 52.9%. Completing the top half of probable winners is Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri (50.3%), who finds himself in 5th to 6th places. (Please refer to Table 6.)

The other senatorial candidates with a statistical chance of winning, as of January 2022, are Senator Sherwin Gatchalian (45.9%, 7th to 8th places), former Vice-President Jejomar Binay (44.5%, 7th to 8th places), former Senator Jinggoy Estrada (40.4%, 9th to 11th places), Senator Joel Villanueva (40.4%, 9th to 11th places), Senator Risa Hontiveros (37.1%, 9th to 13th places), Mr. Robin Padilla (35.9%, 11th to 13th places), and former Senator JV Estrada Ejercito (33.9%, 11th to 13th places). Meanwhile, 1.2% of likely voters are ambivalent as regards their choices for senator, another 1.2% refuse to name their preferred senatorial candidates, and 0.9% are not likely to vote for any senatorial bet.

Most likely voters (62%) are aware of the party-list system; nine (9) party-list groups succeed in surpassing the 2.0% voter preference threshold needed to secure at least one (1) congressional seat

Almost two-thirds of likely voters (62%) have heard, read, and/or watched something about the party-list system. Awareness is reported by majorities in each geographic area and socio-economic class (52% to 74% and 59% to 75%, respectively). Relatively higher levels of awareness are posted in Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao (67% to 74%) than in the rest of Luzon (52%) and in Classes C and E (73% to 75%) compared to Class D (59%). (Please refer to Table 7.)

Among the 177 party-list groups participating in the May 2022 polls, nine (9) obtain voter preferences of at least 2.0% of the total number of votes cast for the party-list elections. The said level of support enables the following groups to surpass the 2.0% voter preference they need to secure at least one (1) seat at the House of Representatives in the first round of seat allocation as stated in the 17 February 2017 resolution issued by the Supreme Court – ACT-CIS (10.4%), Ako Bicol (5.6%), 4Ps (4.3%), Senior Citizens Partylist (3.3%), Malasakit@Bayanihan (3.3%), Magsasaka (2.3%), An Waray (2.3%), Gabriela (2.1%), and Kabayan (2.1%). In contrast, 17.5% of likely voters do not have a preferred party-list group. (Please refer to Table 8.)

Following the procedure for allocating the maximum number of 63 seats for party-list representatives, five (5) party-list groups would earn additional congressional seats. This would enable them to obtain three (3) seats in the House of Representatives, the maximum number of seats a party-list group can win in the party-list elections. These are ACT-CIS, Ako Bicol, 4PS, Senior Citizens’ Partylist, and Malasakit@Bayanihan.

Furthermore, following the procedure for allocating the maximum number of 59 seats for party-list representatives described in the said resolution, four (4) party-list groups each obtain three (3) seats in the Lower House, the maximum number of seats that any group can win in the party-list elections. These groups are Bayan Muna, Ako Bicol Political Party (Ako Bicol), Magkakasama sa Sakahan (Magsasaka), and Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support, Inc. (ACT-CIS). (Please refer to Table 9.)