CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — A prestigious Manila-based pollster has revealed an early trend in local politics with 3rd District Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales getting re-elected by a wide margin over his lone opponent, City of San Fernando Mayor Oscar “Oca” S. Rodriguez.
A total of 2,532 respondents in the third district were asked: If the elections were held today, who would you vote for?
The survey, conducted at the end of October last year, showed Gonzales chosen by 75 percent of the respondents.
Broken down, the results showed Gonzales leading Rodriguez in all the four towns of the district, as well as in the City of San Fernando, considered as the mayor’s bailiwick.
In Arayat, Gonzales garnered 345 votes or 76.7 percent from a total of 450 respondents while Rodriguez got only 62 votes or 13.8 percent. Forty-three or 9.6 percent were undecided.
A clear majority of the 400 respondents from Bacolor, which is considered Gonzales’ stronghold, being the architect of its rehabilitation from the devastations of the Mount Pinatubo eruptions, expectedly went for Gonzales with 251 votes or 62.8 percent while Rodriguez got only 106 or 26.5 percent. Forty-one respondents or 10.3 percent were undecided.
In Sta. Ana, Gonzales got 246 out of 385 respondents or 64 percent while Rodriguez got only 103 votes or 26.8 percent. Only 29 respondents or 7.5 percent were undecided. Rodriguez hails from this town and also considered it as one of his bailiwicks.
In Mexico, 376 or 75.2 percent of the 500 respondents went for Gonzales with Rodriguez getting 78 votes or 15.6 percent. Forty-three or 8.6 percent were undecided. The town is another bailiwick of Gonzales being a born and raised in Barangay Anao.
While political observers readily chalk up the City of San Fernando to Rodriguez’s column, being its much-awarded three-term mayor, the survey showed Gonzales getting the upperhand with 399 votes, nearly 50 percent, from the 800 respondents while Rodriguez got 335 or 41.9 percent. The rest were undecided at 7.4 percent.
Based on the same survey results, the net satisfaction rating of Gonzales as a solon is 77.6 percent while that of Rodriguez as chief executive is 72.8 percent. Political pundits explained that Kapampangans in the third district will most likely re-elect Gonzales as a legislator over Rodriguez based on their performance in their respective fields of endeavors.
When asked of the possibility of changing their votes, 54 percent of the same respondents said they will not change their minds. The survey also showed negative ratings on the influence of President Aquino on the candidates.
Pampanga’s third district has 313,000 registered voters. Past elections have shown that about 70 percent — or 220,000 voters — exercise their right to suffrage.
The block-voting Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) numbers about 15,000 registered voters which could also become a factor if the elections were tight or narrow.
The survey findings by the Manila-based pollster were validated by another survey conducted in November by a firm commissioned by former city mayor Rey B. Aquino, who is on a comeback trail. The results were practically identical.
Aquino’s survey showed him leading over his rival Vice Mayor Edwin Santiago 60-40 in percentage of the respondents.
Political pundits observed that Rodriguez failed to capitalize on his avowed closeness with President Aquino in uplifting the lives of Kapampangans which make for his dismal results in the surveys.