A re-electionist slid from the top two of the Senate race for the first time, opening doors for a newcomer with a familiar surname to enter the first three slots, a new SWS survey showed.
Senator Chiz Escudero ranked 3rd-4th (48 percent) in the March 1-15 survey, leaving the second spot to fellow re-electionist Alan Peter Cayetano (57 percent). The survey was conducted prior the Escudero-Ongpauco hullabaloo.
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Escudero, who had consistently been in the top two since SWS started surveys in August, shared the 3rd-4th spot with San Juan City Rep. JV Ejercito, who rose from ranking 9th-10th in the February survey.
Senator Loren Legarda still sat on top of the survey results, even as her ratings dropped by five points to 59 percent of the 1,200 voters polled.
Administration candidates still dominate the survey, with six of them poised to take a spot in the top eight along with two opposition bets.
Four candidates from Team PNoy and three from the United Nationalist Alliance are meanwhile battling for the last four seats out of the 12 that are up for grabs in the May 2013 elections.
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Ranked next to Escudero and Ejercito, at 5th-7th (47 percent) were UNA's Nancy Binay, the daughter of Vice-President Jejomar Binay; as well as Team PNoy bets Senator Aquilino Pimentel III and former Las Pinas City Rep. Cynthia Villar.
Senator Antonio Trillanes (Team PNoy) IV ranked 8th with 44 percent, followed by Senator Gringo Honasan of UNA, whose preference rating jumped to 43 percent after dipping to 34 percent previously.
In the 10th spot was President Benigno Aquino III's cousin Bam Aquino (Team PNoy) at 42 percent; followed by former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board Chairman Grace Poe Llamanzares (40 percent).
Aurora Rep. Edgardo "Sonny" Angara Jr. of the administration slate bagged the last seat in the so-called "Magic 12" with a voter preference score of 39 percent.
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Spots at the bottom of the "Magic 12" , however, may still be wrestled by Cagayan Rep. Juan "Jack" Ponce Enrile Jr. of UNA and former Sen. Ramon "Jun" Magsaysay Jr. of Team PNoy, who both got 37 percent; or former Senator Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri of UNA, 35 percent.
Sought for comment, Escudero in a text message said the survey was a "wake up call" for him to ramp up campaign efforts to reach a broader public, adding that surveys are always a "snapshot of voters' preference at a particular time" and really have an "up-down swing."
"Maganda pong gawing basehan ang survey para mabalikan mo at marepaso ang mga ginawa mo, ginagawa at gagawin pa (A survey is a good basis for review of the things you have done, are doing and will do)," Escudero added.
Ejercito, for his part, thanked Filipinos their support, adding that that he was been consistently included in the top 10 preferred candidates.
"Sakaling mapabilang sa Senado, gagawin ko ang aking makakaya upang mapaginhawa ang buhay ng mga Pilipino (Given a chance in the Senate, I will do all I can to better the lives of Filipinos)," he added in a statement.
Also included in the survey were:
former Sen. Jamby Madrigal (Team PNoy), 33 percent
former Sen. Richard Gordon (UNA), 33 percent
former Akbayan Party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros (Team PNoy), 29 percent
former Sen. Ernesto Maceda (UNA), 18 percent
former Tarlac Gov. Tingting Cojuangco (UNA), 14 percent
Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay (UNA), 14 percent
Eddie Villanueva (independent), 13 percent
Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn (independent), 11 percent
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy Casino (independent), 7 percent
Marwil Llasos (Ang Kapatiran), 4 percent
Samson Alcantara (independent), 4 percent
Ricardo Penson (independent), 4 percent
Ramon Montano (independent), 4 percent
Baldomero Falcone (Democratic Party of the Philippines), 4 percent
Rizalito David (Ang Kapatiran), 3 percent
former BUHAY Party-list Rep. Christian Seneras (DPP), 3 percent
JC de los Reyes (Ang Kapatiran), 3 percent
Greco Belgica (DPP), 2 percent.
Related slideshow: UNA