IBTimes UK

With just days left for the election to choose Philippines' next president, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has kept his clear lead over closest rival Senator Grace Poe.

The tough-talking politician from Mindanao, who vows to use a strong hand to maintain law and order, has 33 percent support in the latest opinion poll, as against 22 percent for the former front-runner Grace Poe.

The Pulse Asia survey shows that Poe has failed to catch up with Duterte, who has made a late surge in the race for the Malacanang Palace.

The previous survey commissioned by ABS-CBN Corp had also shown Duterte was clearly ahead of Poe and Manuel Roxas.

While Roxas shared the second spot with Poe with 22 percent of support, Vice President Jejomar Binay scored only 17 percent in the four way race.

Apart from his home province of Mindanao, where he got a whopping 58 percent support, Duterte did surprisingly well in the capital region with 40 percent of support, setting up what looks like an irreversible path to the presidency.

Meanwhile, Poe led in Luzon with 28 percent support and Roxas was the favorite in Visayas with 38 percent of popular support.

The clear lead in successive opinion polls late into the campaign shows Duterte's campaign centered around unorthodox positions is winning the hearts of voters.

From calling the pope the "son of a whore" to saying he regretted not being the first to rape a "beautiful" Australian missionary, Duterte has earned notoriety as a potty-mouthed speaker, but the masses seem to have decisively leaned towards him.

His appeal among the rich and the middle classes was boosted by his promises of brutal suppression of criminal gangs while the poor see in him the embodiment of a classic outsider who symbolizes their own frustrations.

IBTimes UK