Nancy Binay's popularity puzzling: analysts

Posted at 12/18/12 9:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Nancy Binay's popularity in senatorial surveys ahead of the 2013 polls is surprising, according to University of the Philippines Sociology Professor Randy David.

Binay is consistently among the top 12 frontrunners in Pulse Asia's surveys ahead of the elections.

David, in an interview on "ANC Presents: Road to 2013" that aired Tuesday, said Nancy seems to anchor her popularity on her surname, or specifically her father, Vice-President Jejomar Binay.

However, name recall is not the only factor since other candidates with well-known surnames are not doing well in surveys.

"You have a Maceda who probably is one of the oldest names in Philippine politics and somebody like Jun Magsaysay who did not figure in the top 12," he said.

"Why is he [Magsaysay] number 15 in Pulse Asia? What is more amazing is the awareness score of Jun Magsaysay is only 74," he added.

"Don't they know the name Magsaysay?" David asked. "Maceda, who doesn't know Ernie Maceda?"

"What is surprising here is Nancy Binay. Nobody has heard of Nancy Binay before. People have heard the name Binay before but she has a high awareness [score]," he added.

He said he agrees with the strength of name recall but Nancy Binay's case is still one of a kind.

"It doesn't seem to apply to other names like Aquino. I'm referring to Bam Aquino (No. 16 in surveys). The name Aquino carries as much, if not more cache than Binay," he said.

"[Bam Aquino] looks more like Ninoy Aquino more than the president does and yet he is number 16," he added.

David said that if it's just name recall, then Bam Aquino and even someone like Risa Hontiveros would not lag in surveys.

"Grace Llamanzares-Poe. What a name. This is the daughter of FPJ. [But] she's number 17," he said.

"Nancy Binay's performance defies all [explanations]. It can only be [linked] to the vice-president's immense popularity at this point," David said.

The vice-president has reportedly been bringing his daughter along in visits to the provinces long before she declared her intention to run for senator under the United Nationalist Alliance.

Pulse Asia President Ronnie Holmes said one reason behind the high marks recieved by Nancy Binay is that she has been in the polling group's surveys since November 2011.

"One explanation that we can give, although this is not supported by our survey data, is that (some) people only very recently indicated their intent to run for the Senate," he said.

However, he also considers Nancy Binay as a unique senatorial candidate.

"Among the ones in contention, only one name has had no congressional record, and that's Nancy Binay," he said. "You can associate that with the considerable political capital that her father has right now."

"The name carries some weight," Holmes added.

He also revealed that the President's sister, actress Kris Aquino, did better in senatorial surveys than Bam, who has an uphill climb in the 2013 elections.

David believes that winning in the elections is not all about having the right name.

"To win in the 2013 senatorial elections, one must not only have a name with a lot of political capital, but have well-established media presence," he said.

Holmes, meanwhile, said aside from sustained presence, preparation could be also key.

"It's hard to beat them. If I were to run for senator, I would probably start preparing 3 years before I run," he said. " You cannot beat them if you're just declaring at this point."