Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday presents a copy of the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry (BOI) report and discusses the findings of the Senate committee on public order that she heads. Poe affirmed most of the BOI's findings and stressed President Aquino's responsibility on the incident. (MNS photo)

Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday presents a copy of the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry (BOI) report and discusses the findings of the Senate committee on public order that she heads. Poe affirmed most of the BOI’s findings and stressed President Aquino’s responsibility on the incident. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Apr 16 (Mabuhay) – Senator Grace Poe is one of the strong contenders for the presidency if elections were held today as the latest survey by pollster Social Weather Stations showed she has narrowed the gap between her and first-placer Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The SWS survey conducted March 20 to 23 showed second-placer Poe enjoying a big increase from her previous 21 percent rating in December to 31 percent in March.

Binay remained on top with 36 percent, a one-percent drop from the 37 percent in December.

Binay had suffered huge drops in his satisfaction ratings since he was linked to corruption charges. His camp has denied the allegations, saying these were politically motivated.

On the other hand, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was third place in the survey, also surging ahead to 15 percent in March from 5 percent in December.

Poe and Duterte have yet to announce their plans to run for president in 2016.

The survey had asked respondents to name up to three people who they thought should succeed President Benigno Aquino III.

Results of the survey were posted Thursday on SWS’ media partner BusinessWorld.

Duterte tied with Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, whose score fell to 15 percent from 19 percent in December.

Tied for fifth and sixth were Sen. Miriam Santiago with 11 percent (10 percent in December) and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada with 11 percent (9 percent in December).

Sen. Francis Escudero was seventh with 8 percent in March (9 percent in December). Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was eighth with 7 percent (3 percent in December), and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano was ninth with 4 percent (3 percent in December).

In December, Poe said she is not yet ready to make a decision as to her political plans in the next elections.

Para sa ‘kin, wala naman akong balak, pero salamat sa pagmamahal. Gayunpaman, sa tingin ko, ‘di naman ‘yan magiging problema pa sa ngayon dahil wala pa naman akong sinasabi,” Poe said.

Hindi pa nga ako handa. Kaya nga hindi rin ako nagsasabi na sigurado ako dahil pati ako, kailangan ko pa talagang isipin,” she added.

Likewise, Duterte said last February he is not keen on running in the 2016 presidential elections.

Wala pa ako sa track na ‘yan,” Duterte told reporters. “As of this moment, I am not running for president.”

“Early on, I have said I am not interested, it does not appeal to me,” he added. “The presidency is a distant star for me.”

However, another report said Duterte can still be swayed if the public asks him to run.

“If God will place me there, there will be a difference. ‘Pag ako ang makapasok [sa pagkapangulo], magugulo tayo,” he said.

The survey used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults nationwide and had sampling error margins of ±3 points for national percentages, and ±6 points each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.  (MNS)