There is no denying that, for a number of reasons, Noynoy Aquino still leads in surveys.  But while this lead is still very much celebrated by Noynoy’s supporters, fans, and cult members, it is a lead that is being whittled down by other Presidential candidates.

I spotted at least two stories on the internet that indicate that Noynoy is sliding in the surveys.

Here’s one from the Philippine Star:

Noynoy’s lead in opinion polls drops, Gibo’s rating surges – The Center
(The Philippine Star) Updated December 14, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Sen. Benigno Aquino III’s lead in opinion polls has “significantly dropped” to single-digit levels while Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer Gilberto Teodoro Jr. surged to a double-digit mark for the first time since entering the race, according to results of the first survey taken after the Dec. 1 deadline for candidates to file their certificates of candidacy (COCs).

A poll conducted by the Issues and Advocacy Center (The Center) from Dec. 2 to 6 showed Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party (NP) cut Aquino’s lead to seven points by improving to 24 percent.

“Aquino’s 31 percent rating was described as a ‘stationary dive’ in the Center’s tracking survey but he continues to lead in the super regions – National Capital Region (36 percent), Luzon (31 percent), Visayas (26 percent) and Mindanao (33 percent),” according to Ed Malay, director of the Center.

Malay said the Center interviewed 1,200 respondents pro-rated to the number of voters in the 2007 midterm polls with a margin of error of plus-minus 2.8 percent and a confidence level of 95 percent.

“The other significant movements were Teodoro’s climb to 10 percent on the strength of his bold decisions on the Maguindanao massacre and his impressive showing in two presidential debates, and former President Joseph Estrada’s 19 percent as he bounced back from last October’s survey,” he said.

“Sen. Dick (Richard) Gordon also began to make his presence felt with eight percent.”

Malay said Teodoro benefited from the positive reviews that he has been generating from the public debates among the presidential aspirants, as well as his handling of the Maguindanao massacre even when he was no longer defense secretary.

Here’s another story in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, based on the same survey results:

Noynoy’s lead cut down in new survey

By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:25:00 12/13/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Politics, Elections

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III remained on top of a survey of presidential candidates made by a public relations firm early this month but his lead over his rivals has been cut down.

The survey, conducted by a group named The Issues and Advocacy Center from Dec. 2 to 6, showed Sen. Manuel Villar catching up with Aquino, former President Joseph Estrada regaining his footing, and former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and Senator Richard Gordon making big strides since the group’s last survey in October.

The survey, which was distributed to the press by Lakas spokesperson and Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay, showed Aquino with 31 percent of the respondents, while Villar got 24 percent. Estrada was third with a 19 percent share while Teodoro breached the double digit mark for the first time with a 10 percent share. Gordon’s ratings climbed from virtually nil to 8 percent in the survey.

Now, I am not really a fan of surveys as an indicator of who SHOULD win and who ACTUALLY wins in an election.  All surveys on the leading choice for President have been wrong, except in 1998 when surveys indicated a win for then in the runnning Joseph Ejercito Estrada and this was born out with a landslide victory for the so-called “Champion of the Masses”.

There are a number of reasons why this happened in the past, among them may be factors within the campaign of the survey leader and factors outside of the campaign of the survey leader.  Certainly, various modes of electoral fraud may be a factor, but even before figuring that into the equation, you’d also have to look at how well each campaign was run.

While popularity is indicative of whether a candidate will win or lose in any campaign, other factors such as the ability to do a physical on the ground campaigning and the ability to guard the candidate’s votes on election day will be even more crucial.

Surveys only show one aspect of a campaign and that is popularity. It is the conversion of that popularity into actual votes on election day that really matters.  It takes an enormous amount of organization to achieve this and a small, well-organized campaign team has an advantage over a collossal, disorganized survey frontrunner.