(UPDATED) SENATOR Grace Poe maintained her lead over other presidential aspirants for the 2016 national elections, a recent Pulse Asia survey showed.
If the elections were held during the survey period September 8 to 14, Poe would have bagged presidency with 26 percent of 2,400 respondents saying they would vote for her.
However, Poe's voter preference dropped four percentage points from the last survey in June.
Another Pulse Asia poll commissioned by broadcast giant ABS-CBN showed Poe at the top with 27 percent despite losing three percentage points. The survey was conducted from August 27 to September 3.
Poe thanked the public for their continued trust in her and for giving her strength to continue her goal in serving the country.
"Again, I thank the Filipino people for their confidence. It is from them that I draw my strength. More than just a measure of popularity, this is a reminder that we should always focus on performance and genuine service," the senator said in a statement.
Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II (20 percent), Vice President Jejomar Binay (19 percent) and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (16 percent) were "statistically" tied in second place.
Roxas gained 10 percent from Pulse Asia's June survey while Binay and Duterte dropped three points and one point, respectively.
"Satisfied" with the survey result, Binay's political affairs spokesperson Rico Quicho said it showed them that the vice president has a "stable core of supporters."
"The Vice President will continue to talk directly with the people and work doubly hard to inform them of his track record of helping the poor and programs to bring more employment, quality education, accessible healthcare and reduction of poverty," Quicho said.
Roxas' ally, Akbayan Representative Barry Gutierrez, said the former Cabinet official's rating only "affirms the now indisputable rise" of Roxas as a presidential candidate in 2016.
"This phenomenal increase in Secretary Mar's numbers, gaining the highest jump in voters' preference while those of his rivals have dropped, is testament to his tireless efforts to bring the message of Daang Matuwid to the people, as well as his excellent and unblemished record in his long years of public service," the lawmaker said.
Senate President Frankilin Drilon and Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. said the survey indicates that Roxas can win the presidency.
"It's a dead heat at this point so the race is on. The race is on...We will not present a candidate who will not win. We are confident that we can make a distinction between Secretary Mar and his opponents," Drilon, a stalwart of the Liberal Party, told reporters.
House Deputy Minority Leader Carol Jane Lopez (Yacap party-list) added “Roxas’ depth, integrity and stability are (now) being felt by the voters.”
“I admit it has given us a renewed confidence because we know that the people are finally seeing the direction Mar Roxas wants to take them to,” said Lopez.
Other officials who registered a single digit rating were Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (6 percent), Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada (5 percent), Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago (3 percent), former senator Panfilo Lacson (2 percent), Senator Alan Peter Cayetano (1 percent).
Three percent of the respondents were either undecided or refused to pick any of the names mentioned in the survey.
Poe was the top presidential pick of all respondents in Metro Manila (26 percent) and Balance Luzon (31 percent).
Meanwhile, Roxas was the top choice in Visayas (34 percent) while Duterte led in Mindanao (29 percent).
The survey, which has a ±2 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level, was conducted nearly two months after President Benigno Aquino III chose Roxas as his preferred successor in 2016, and when Poe's citizenship was challenged before the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
Vice presidential race
Meanwhile, Poe was in a "statistical tie" with Senator Francis Escudero in the vice presidential survey with 24 percent and 23 percent, respectively.
Poe announced on September 16 that she will run for president in the 2016 polls with Escudero as her running mate.
Escudero posted an eight-percentage point increase in his rating, compared to his 23 percentage points in June.
Marcos came in third with 13 percent, and was followed by Cayetano and Aquino, with nine percent and six percent, respectively.
Other personalities in the list were Batangas Governor Vilma Santos (5 percent), Lacson (5 percent), Senator Antonio Trillanes IV (4 percent), Senator Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada (4 percent), Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo (3 percent), former senator Francis Pangilinan (2 percent), and Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares (0.1 percent).
One percent of the respondents named other government officials while three percent were undecided or refused to give any names. (John Carlo Cahinhinan/Sunnex)