Her supposed popularity with the electorate based on surveys paid for by her father’s administration may have been nothing more than smoke and mirrors after all.

The decision of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to run for vicepresident was seen by political analysts as a sure thing as she was expected to win the race easily.

Not so, based on the latest survey from the Social Weather Stations (SWS) which presented three scenarios including one where the President’s daughter was among the vicepresidential bets.

The latest SWS nationwide survey held in late October had Sotto as the choice of a large plurality of the electorate. Only one of three scenarios had Sara Duterte-Carpio in the race but Sotto still managed to retain his solid lead against all candidates.

Besides Duterte-Carpio, the other VP bets facing off against Sotto are former Manila mayor and current party-list congressman Lito Atienza, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, and Dr. Willie Ong. Included in one of the survey scenarios was Sen. Bong Go, who later abandoned his vicepresidential bid in favor of running for president. Go, however, announced last week that he was quitting the presidential race but has yet to withdraw his Certificate of Candidacy as of this writing.

Excluded from the list was party-list Rep. Walden Bello.

The survey was conducted between October 20 to 23 but the results were released only late last month.

Of the three scenarios, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr was included in the second set in place of Duterte and Go. In the first scenario, neither Marcos Jr. nor Duterte-Carpio were listed as among the bets to choose from.

Go performed surprisingly better than Marcos and Duterte in the three scenarios, with freshman senator Go garnering 31 percent in scenario 1; Marcos with 29 percent in scenario 2; and Duterte-Carpio with 25 percent in scenario 3.

Sotto won with 42 percent of the vote in the first scenario, and 44 percent in the second and third scenarios.

The results appeared to belie the boast of the administration that ‘Inday Sara’ was unbeatable for any national post that she aspired for. Former presidential spokesman Sal Panelo even said it was “game over” for all of her opponents.

SWS, however, warned that the results of their latest survey only represented the feelings of the electorate at a certain point in time, and that changes in the mood of the voters could change between now and election day.

Duterte-Carpio pulled a surprise when she announced her vicepresidential run. She had been topping the early surveys in the presidential race and disappointed her followers when she opted to run for the second highest position in the land.

Most disappointed of all was President Rodrigo Duterte, who did not keep secret his wish to have his daughter succeed him.

One reason for Sotto’s popularity with the masses is his being part of the comedy team of Tito, Vic & Joey, which hosts the long-running noontime variety show Eat Bulaga. The trio have done several comedy movies that made them the local version of the Three Stooges.

Vic in the trio is his younger brother Vic Sotto, father of Pasig City mayor Vico Sotto, who is being touted as a future presidential candidate. The Senate president’s wife is singer Helen Gamboa. He is also an accomplished musician and one of his hits was the post-EDSA Revolt anthem Magkaisa.

It is worth noting that one of Sotto’s opponents in the vicepresidential race is Sen. Francis Pangilinan, whose wife is popular actress-singer Sharon Cuneta, who is a niece of Helen GamboaSotto.