Conclusion to the Laylo Survey
President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s public satisfaction ratings in Metro Manila have plunged steeply to just 34 percent, according to an opinion poll undertaken by the reputable pollster Laylo Research Strategies (LRS) February 6-10.
Although the poll questionnaire did not probe the reasons for the public’s sentiment, the fall in Aquino’s ratings was likely caused by widespread outrage over Aquino’s involvement in and handling of a police mission in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, in which 44 Special Action Forces troops were massacred by Muslim insurgents, with a nearby Army Infantry Division unable to mount a rescue operation.
As reported in this paper on Monday, the LRS poll reported that 48 percent of respondents believed that Aquino must be held accountable for the Mamasapano clash with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), while 53 percent thought his close friend and suspended national-police chief Alan Purisima was accountable.
Significantly, only 20 percent felt that the blame should be on those who actually pulled the triggers, the MILF.
Aquino’s 34 percent rating, based on the LSR poll, may be compared to similar, quarterly national surveys undertaken by the Social Weather Stations, which also reported its findings for the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila).
The SWS’ last presidential satisfaction survey was undertaken Nov 27 to Dec 1, which reported a 55 percent satisfaction with Aquino as Philippine President among the respondents in Metro Manila.
The more recent LRS poll taken earlier this month showed a 34 percent satisfaction rating, an unprecedented huge decline of 21 percentage points. Such rating is the lowest ever for Aquino in his five years in office.
A consolation of sorts for Aquino is the survey’s findings that only an equal percentage of respondents—34 percent—were dissatisfied with him, with 32 percent reporting that they could not decide on their assessment of Aquino. With the survey’s plus/minus error of margin of 6 percentage points, it is quite possible that Aquino’s net ratings have in reality moved to the negative zone for the first time.
For each socio-economic class, the middle “D” was the most angry at Aquino with 37 percent dissatisfied with him, followed by the upper ABC tiers with 33 percent and the lowest E strata with 30 percent. The oldest segment of the population, or those aged 56 and older, were most dissatisfied with Aquino, with 41 percent disapproving of him and only 31 percent satisfied with him as President.
The steep fall in Aquino’s ratings could mean that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) would likely end up in the dustbin.
Aquino’s popularity was high —over 50 percent satisfied with him—when the bill was filed last September in Congress, and he could have bribed Congress to pass it since the Supreme Court had not yet quashed his new form of pork-barrel, called the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) Projects.
With the steep fall in his satisfaction ratings, which corresponds to the weakening of his political clout, and with the national outrage over the massacre of the police commandos, the BBL stands little chance of being passed by Congress.
The plunge in his ratings has also diminished the chances that he would be succeeded in 2016 by somebody he would endorse. Polls in the country in the past two decades showed that no President has been able to recover from a steep fall in his or her satisfaction ratings, once it results in single-digit or negative net ratings.
Private polls, in fact, indicate that Aquino’s endorsement has a negative value—that is a kiss of death for whichever candidate receives it.
The LRS survey, commissioned by The Manila Times, interviewed 300 adults who were randomly chosen in the National Capital Region, representing its 16 cities and one municipality, proportional to its adult population size, 12-15 days after the Mamasapano clash happened with a plus or minus 6 percent error margin.
LRS founder and principal pollster Pedro Laylo Jr. has been a reputable pollster since 2001. He started his career as a fellow of the Social Weather Stations in the 1990s. He has a master’s degree in Political Science with concentration on Public Opinion from the University of Connecticut, home of the famed Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.