Congressman Erwin Tulfo | FACEBOOK PHOTO

ACT-CIS Partylist Rep. Erwin Tulfo obtained the highest voter preference among potential candidates in the 2025 midterm senatorial elections, results of the national survey of Oculum Research and Analytics Philippines showed.

Tulfo was the choice of 50% of respondents in the national survey conducted from July 17 to 31, 2023.

Oculum Chief Political Analyst Dr. Dennis Coronacion said the popularity of Tulfo, a media personality, could also be attributed to his former job as secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in-charge of implementing the 4Ps program.

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“Incidentally, the respondents in the Oculum third-quarter survey showed a very strong support for the 4Ps program,” he said.

“His topping  the senatorial survey may also signify the public recognition of the Tulfo family name as a political brand,” he added.

Landing on the No. 2 spot is former Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III who was the choice of 48% of the respondents.

Coronacion said: “Tito Sotto’s popularity may have been due to the Eat Bulaga controversy (the employment issue between the younger generation of Jalosjos family versus the original hosts of the entertainment program). Tito Sotto gained media mileage because of the issue. The original Eat Bulaga hosts, including Tito Sotto, also enjoyed wide public support.”

Also in the “Magic 12” were former President Rodrigo Duterte (3rd, 39%), incumbent senators Pia Cayetano (4th, 38%) and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa (5th, 32%), former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson (6th, 31%), Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto (7th, 28%), and TV host Willie Revillame (8th, 27%).

Coronacion said Duterte’s inclusion in the top 5 of the senatorial survey may be due to the “public perception about the continuing relevance of some of his administration’s policies, particularly his strong stance against criminal activities and illegal drugs, amid reports of the resurgence of crimes in the country.”

“Vico Sotto’s strong social media presence has made him popular among social media users and the youth. His public image as a young reformist and his celebrity appeal may have also contributed to his popularity,” Coronacion said of the Pasig city mayor, who also had a strong showing in the Oculum poll.

Tied within the 9th to 11th places were former vice-presidential candidate Willie Ong, Sen. Lito Lapid, and former senator Manuel Villar (26% each). Former senator and presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao landed on the 12th spot as the choice of 24% of respondents.

Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who got 22% support, ranked 13th but stood within striking distance of the winning circle. At 14th to 16th places were former Manila mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Sen. Imee Marcos, and Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, who all obtained 20% support.

Also outside the Magic 12 were former senators Gringo Honasan (19%), Mar Roxas (19%), and Kiko Pangilinan (18%); former vice  residents Jejomar Binay (18%) and Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo (17%), former Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista (14%), former senator Richard Gordon (12%), and former Palace spokesman Harry Roque (11%).

Oculum Chief Statistician Dr. Joseph Mercado said the survey results revealed a diverse range of preferences among the surveyed population, with media figures, established politicians, and newcomers vying for popularity.

“Factors such as name recognition, media exposure, and political history play a significant role in shaping the popularity of these figures. The analysis underscores the dynamic nature of political preferences and provides valuable insights into the current landscape of political figures’ popularity in the Philippines,” he said.

The Oculum third-quarter poll had 1,200 respondents distributed as follows: 300 from the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila, 300 from the rest of Luzon, 300 from the Visayas, and 300 from Mindanao.

In the senatorial survey, respondents were aided with a list of potential candidates but were also given the option to name their preferred candidates.

For each of these four regions, the areas surveyed – cities and municipalities and barangays – were randomly selected through a computer-assisted tool. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3 points at the national level. OCULUM