PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte continued to enjoy majority approval and trust ratings but the figures have started to decline, the latest survey by Pulse Asia showed.
An analyst said the decline in Duterte’s ratings should not cause alarm, but could be a warning sign that the President needs to deliver on his promises.
The poll, which was conducted from March 15 to 20, showed Duterte scoring an approval rating of 78 percent, down by five percentage points from 83 percent in December 2016. Seven percent disapproved of him while 15 percent were undecided.
Duterte’s trust rating also fell by seven percentage points to 76 percent in March from 83 percent in December last year. Five percent said they distrusted the President while 18 percent were undecided.
Pulse Asia noted that approval and trust continued to be the “predominant sentiments” toward the President.
“Public assessment of the President’s performance and trustworthiness remains generally unchanged between December 2016 and March 2017, with the exception of the seven-percentage point decline in his national trust,” Pulse Asia said.
Duterte’s trust rating remains highest in Mindanao and Visayas at 90 percent and 84 percent, respectively. This was despite a two- and three-point drop in his ratings in the two island groups.
Trust down in Luzon
The President obtained the biggest trust-rating decline in Luzon with 67 percent, a 10-point drop from his 77-percent rating in the last quarter of 2016.
In Metro Manila, Duterte saw a five-point drop in his trust rating to 74 percent in March, from 79 percent in December.
Duterte however saw a jump in his trust rating in socioeconomic classes AB and C at 84 percent, a 12-point increase from his 72-percent rating in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The President, however, saw a 7- and 11-point drop in his ratings among Classes D (76 percent) and E (74 percent), respectively.
Pulse Asia used a ±3 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level. Subnational estimates for Metro Manila, Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao had a ±6 percent error margin.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella welcomed the latest survey results, saying the people continued “to embrace the President’s vision of a nation that works for the prosperity of all; a trustworthy government and lasting peace.”
“The seemingly orchestrated events from parties threatened by the housecleaning efforts of the current administration have not dampened the sentiments of the common people, and those unheard and underserved by past administrations,” Abella said in a statement.
“The continued high approval of [Duterte] et al, as validated by the latest survey results, proves that the majority appreciate the decisiveness of the President, and that the attacks of opportunists like Trillanes and his ilk are baseless and malicious,” he added, referring to Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, who has accused the President of hiding P2 billion in bank transactions.
Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said the dip in the ratings of the President was still within the normal range and would have no decisive impact.
“It’s (ratings) within normal range. It’s a warning sign to produce real reforms,” he said.
Casiple said the significant drop in the President’s ratings in Class D was something that should be taken into account because it indicated a problem among the working class.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd and Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the latest Pulse Asia survey only showed that the “honeymoon” period for the President was over.
Lacson said that if the drop continues, the President should sit down with trusted advisers to assess the situation and make adjustments in policies, project implementation, and even in public pronouncements.
“At the end of the day, rightly or wrongly, a leader should somehow adopt to what the people want or demand of him…if he wants to succeed. Needless to say, the support of the people he serves is one indispensable element in governance,” he added.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd said “a drop is a drop.”
“But 78 percent is 78 percent. Some presidents have never even reached 60 percent,” Sotto noted.
Trillanes is expecting a freefall. “I am very much encouraged by the declining numbers of Duterte. The Filipino people are beginning to see the light. By May, we expect it to go down further,” he said.