The son of late Philippines strongman Ferdinand Marcos has emerged as the person to beat in the 2022 presidential race after president Rodrigo Duterte’s popular daughter decided not to contest the country’s top job.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr likely benefited the most from Davao city mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s move to run for vice president, against the wishes of her supporters, despite leading polls for preferred presidential contenders all throughout the year.

“Without the popular Duterte-Carpio in the presidential race, Marcos is the frontrunner, with 60 % odds of victory, though there is a long road ahead,” the Eurasia Group consultancy said in a note to clients late on Monday, after nominations closed.

Of the six key candidates confirmed to run for president at the time the poll was conducted, 47 % of the 1,200 surveyed by the SWS said they would vote for the 64-year old Marcos, popularly known as “Bongbong” or “BBM”.

Marcos’s family is among the country’s most famous dynasties and despite its fall from grace, has retained far-reaching and powerful connections.Marcos, the dictator, died in exile in 1989 after fleeing the country following the “people power” revolution.

The poll results showed the other presidential candidates far adrift, with incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo with 18 %, and Manila mayor Francisco Domagoso on 13 per cent, followed by Pacquiao with 9 %.

Working to his advantage, political analysts also say, is Marcos’s strong social media presence aimed at targeting the youth, who make up a third of eligible voters. Many of them were not born when Marcos senior was in power.

The poll did not include Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte’s closest aide, who only joined the presidential race on Saturday, and analysts say his entry, which is backed by the popular firebrand leader, could dilute some of Marcos’ support.

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