Philippine election front runner Marcos Jr sees lead trimmed in poll

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MANILA, April 6 (Reuters) – Philippine presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr has retained a clear lead in a survey ahead of the May 9 election, though his lead has narrowed after Vice President Leni Robredo picked up support, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday.

Backing for Marcos, the son and namesake of the country’s late dictator, dropped slightly to 56%, compared with 60% in the previous Pulse Asia surveys in January and February, while Robredo’s support grew to 24% from 15% the month before.

The Pulse Asia survey of 2,400 people was conducted between March 17-21, when official campaigning was underway. At least two presidential debates, both of which Marcos skipped, have also taken place over the period.

Support for the other presidential contenders, Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, former boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and Senator Panfilo Lacson, was at 8%, 6% and 2%, respectively, the poll which was conducted face-to-face showed.

Marcos’s running mate, Sara-Duterte Carpio, daughter of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte, remained the top choice for vice president with 56% support in the survey, while Senate President Vicente Sotto was in second place with 20% support.

In the Philippines, the president and vice president are elected separately.

Duterte’s political party is backing the candidacy of Marcos, but the Philippine leader has repeatedly said he would not endorse a candidate because he wanted to stay neutral. 

More than 67 million Filipinos, including 1.7 million living overseas, have registered to vote in the elections, which historically have a high turnout.

Posts contested include the presidency, vice presidency, 12 senate seats, 300 lower house seats, and roughly 18,000 local positions. Official campaigning began on Feb. 8.

(Reporting by Karen LemaEditing by Ed Davies)

Photo – Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., former senator and the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. EPA-EFE/ROUELLE UMALI / POOL

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