MANILA, April 19, 2004
By Jose Rodel Clapano - Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) vice presidential candidate Sen. Loren Legarda leads her chief rival, administration contender Sen. Noli de Castro, in the latest noncommissioned survey by an independent think tank.

The Ibon Foundation Inc. survey taken March 28 to April 4, a copy of which was obtained by The STAR, showed Legarda gaining a slim three percent lead over De Castro.

Legarda garnered 35.05 percent while De Castro got 31.20 percent. Alyansa ng Pag-asa vice presidential contender Herminio Aquino placed a far third, getting only 2.0 percent.

The Ibon survey showed that if elections were held today, a total of 455 of the 1,298 respondents will pick the running mate of KNP standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr. as the country’s vice president while 405 or 31.20 percent will vote for De Castro, running mate of President Arroyo.

Only 26 of the total respondents will vote for Aquino, running mate of former senator and education secretary Raul Roco. A total of 412 or 31.74 percent were still undecided.

The Ibon survey contradicted the results of a poll released recently by research organization Pulse Asia.

Conducted March 27 to April 4, the Pulse Asia poll showed De Castro as the dominant choice of respondents, with 49 percent saying they would vote for him. Legarda came in second in the same survey, with 35 percent.

De Castro and Legarda were both broadcast journalists on the same broadcasting network before they entered politics. De Castro, however, enjoys more popularity than his rival due to his mass appeal. Legarda, on the other hand, has more political experience than De Castro.

In the Ibon survey, the respondents - belonging to the age bracket of 18 to 57 years old - believe having Legarda as vice president could help boost the Philippine economy, obtaining 340 votes over De Castro’s 165 with Aquino getting only 51 votes.

The Ibon respondents also believe that Legarda will be good in handling livelihood issues, getting 311 votes, or a lead of 127 votes over De Castro’s 184. Aquino had 47 votes.

Ibon, a non-governmental research organization and think tank, said the interviewers were hired directly for the survey to protect the integrity of the results. It was not outsourced as normally done by other polling organizations.

Ibon said the poll was not commissioned by any other entity as it was done solely as a public service.

Ibon divided the number of respondents by gender, by sector or professions and by region.

In the age grouping, Legarda was ahead among those aged 18-21, 35-36 and 57 above. De Castro was ahead among the respondents aged 25-35. The difference, however, was less than one percent with him posting 13.10 percent while Legarda had 12.79 percent.

Legarda also led De Castro among the youngest set of respondents, including newly registered voters. She gained 4.16 percent as against De Castro’s 2.39 percent.

In the gender category, Legarda was ahead of De Castro among both males and females. She expectedly received higher support from women.

Among the female respondents, Legarda got 17.87 percent of the votes as against De Castro’s 16.8 percent. Among males, she received 17.8 percent of the votes while De Castro had 15.02 percent.

Legarda was also the choice of professional and sector groups such as workers, farmers, students, housewives and managers. De Castro was the choice of employees, unemployed and self-employed, according to the Ibon survey.

De Castro did not get any vote among the respondents holding a managerial position, while Legarda had 0.31 of the 0.39 percent of the respondents.

Meanwhile, seven of the 13 regions in the country went for Legarda, while six for De Castro.

The Ibon survey also showed Legarda getting a big chunk of the vote-rich regions and thus was ahead among voters nationwide.

In the National Capital Region (NCR), for instance, Legarda obtained 5.86 percent of the respondents, representing 15.25 percent of the total registered voters in the region. De Castro got 3.78 percent.

Among the regions that showed support to Legarda’s vice presidential bid in Luzon include Ilocos, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog and Bicol.

In the Visayas and Mindanao, Legarda led De Castro in western Visayas, northern Mindanao, Caraga region and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Legarda obtained 2.7 percent as against De Castro’s 1.16 percent in Ilocos; 5.16 percent in Central Luzon went for Legarda and 3.08 for De Castro; 6.32 percent in Southern Tagalog will pick her and 4.08 percent her rival; 2.30 percent are for Legarda in the Bicol region and 0.54 percent for De Castro.

In western Visayas, 4. 24 percent of the respondents are for Legarda and 3.39 for De Castro; Northern Mindanao, 1.86 percent for Legarda and 1.23 percent for De Castro; Caraga, 0.08 percent for Legarda as against zero for De Castro; Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), 1.16 percent for Legarda and 0.39 percent for De Castro.

De Castro, however, led in central Visayas with 3.18 percent picking him over Legarda with 1.08. In eastern Visayas, 3.78 percent are for De Castro and 1.08 percent are for Legarda.

In western Mindanao, 2.70 percent prefer De Castro over Legarda, who got 0.69 percent; southern Mindanao, 1.81 percent for De Castro and 0.62 percent for Legarda; central Mindanao, 1.00 for De Castro and 0.62 percent for Legarda.

In the poverty-stricken Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), 0.54 percent are for De Castro while 0.31 percent are for Legarda.

The complete results of the Ibon survey are expected to be released on Wednesday.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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