PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte kept his very high approval and trust ratings in the latest survey by pollster Pulse Asia, despite criticisms on his war on drugs and opposition allegations of unexplained wealth.
The survey of 1,200 respondents from September 24 to 30, showed Duterte’s 80-percent trust and approval ratings were higher compared with other officials, although down by 1 and 2 percentage points, respectively.
The Pulse Asia Survey contrasted with that of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey that showed a double-digit drop in the President’s “satisfaction” rating in the same period, particularly in the poorest “E” class.
In Pulse, however, Duterte’s approval rating was the highest among the poorest Filipinos, with his Class E rating at 86 percent, Class D at 79 percent, and Class ABC at 75 percent.
The President also got an 85-percent trust rating in Class E; 80 percent in Class D; and 74 percent in Class ABC.
Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Pulse survey results showed that the people still supported the President’s vision for the Philippines “despite the multi-faceted political noise.”
He also noted that the survey was conducted “at the height of the demolition job against the President, even implicating some members of the President’s family.”
“We hope these survey results inspire us in the government that despite odds and challenges we continue to provide a comfortable life for all Filipinos in an environment free from illegal drugs and criminality,” Abella told reporters.
During and before the Pulse survey period, the news covered the Senate probe into the shipment of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China, in which the President’s son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and his son-in-law, Manases Carpio, appeared. Both denied allegations they were involved in smuggling.
Another was the “revelation” of Duterte that Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th had a secret bank account in Singapore, which the senator disproved. The President later admitted that he just “invented” the bank account numbers that he had announced in public supposedly to “bait” his critic.
The killings of teens Kian delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz, and Reynaldo de Guzman also dominated the headlines in August and early September, fanning public outrage and criticism of Duterte’s war on drugs.
Robredo, others down
Pulse Asia also said Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo obtained 57 percent approval and 55 percent trust ratings, down 4 and 5 points, respectively.
Robredo suffered a 13-point drop in her trust score in Luzon areas outside the capital, at 53 percent from 66 percent in June, Pulse Asia said.
Robredo however enjoyed majority approval and trust figures except in Metro Manila (49 percent and 47 percent, respectively) and Class ABC (48 percent and 45 percent, respectively).
“During the period June to September 2017, the performance and trust ratings of President Duterte and Vice-President Robredo remain virtually constant,” the pollster noted.
“This observation holds true for the national ratings of both officials as well as those recorded in the different areas and classes. The only exception is the 13-percentage point drop in the trust rating of Vice-President Robredo in the rest of Luzon,” it added.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno also saw lower ratings.
Pimentel posted a 55-percent approval and 52-percent trust scores while Alvarez received a 47-percent approval and 49-percent trust rating.
Pimentel’s national approval score was 7 points lower than the 62 percent he logged in June.
As for Alvarez, his trust and approval scores were both 10 points lower than the 41 percent and 43 percent he got in June, respectively.
The Chief Justice scored 35 percent approval and 31 percent trust ratings, down 13 and 12 points respectively.
The declines were above the margin of error of ±3 percent.
Pulse vs SWS
In the SWS survey, net public satisfaction with Duterte plunged 18 points to +48 from +66 in June while his net trust rating fell 15 points to +60 from +75.
The poll tallied the biggest satisfaction rating decline among poorest Class E, mostly the victims of his anti-narcotics crackdown.
Political analysts questioned the research methods of both Pulse Asia and SWS, after the two pollsters released different outcomes on Duterte’s approval and satisfaction ratings.
De la Salle political science professor Antonio Contreras, in a Facebook post, noted that the Pulse and SWS surveys were taken at around the same time.
“SWS says that the steepest drop in satisfaction ratings of the President is in class E. But Pulse Asia says that the approval ratings for the President is highest for Class E. It’s as if the two survey firms are talking of entirely two different countries,” Contreras said.
In a Twitter post, political analyst Edmund Tayao asked both polling firms to explain the big discrepancy between their surveys.
“Now what else explains the different results of SWS and Pulse Asia surveys?…In statistics, I don’t think it’ll be that exactly the same. But considerable disparity is something else,” Tayao said.
SWS chief Mahar Mangahas justified the difference between SWS’s “satisfaction” rating and what Pulse Asia calls an “approval” rating, which he said were “not the same.”
“The terms ‘satisfaction’ and ‘approval’ are not the same. Aside from that, feel free to look for contrasts between the two,” Mangahas told The Manila Times in an emailed statement.
SWS spokesman Leo Laroza, for his part, told The Times that, “SWS does not give official statements or opinions about the research findings of other organizations.”
The Pulse Asia survey was released just days after a separate poll by the SWS.
The SWS survey asked respondents to “tell how satisfied or dissatisfied” they were with the President and “indicate if your trust/faith is Very much, Somewhat much, Undecided if much or little, Somewhat little, Very little, or You have not heard or read anything about [Duterte] ever?”
Pulse Asia meanwhile asked respondents to rate their satisfaction with and trust in Duterte and other top Philippine officials.
Robredo up in SWS
The SWS on Friday released a report showing that Robredo’s net satisfaction rating increased to 41 percent or 5 points from her 36 percent rating in June.
The survey, conducted last September 23 to 27, revealed that 62 percent of Filipinos were satisfied with Robredo’s performance while 21 percent were dissatisfied.
The 5-point increase in Robredo’s net satisfaction rating was due to the vice president’s net satisfaction score in Balance Luzon, Visayas and Metro Manila growing by three to seven percentage points.
Robredo credited her increased net satisfaction to her office’s flagship anti-poverty program “Angat Buhay.”
“We are happy with the rise. Surveys are also important for us public officials because they serve as our wake up call for most of the time. The surveys tell us whether things that we do benefit the people or something that they approve of, even amid the limited resources that we face,” Robredo said in a statement.
Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th said the SWS result showed that her “consistent hard work” to uplift underprivileged communities was paying off.
WITH BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO AND LLANESCA T. PANTI