(UPDATE 3 – 7:18 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos gave President Rodrigo Duterte a “very good” net satisfaction rating of +66 in the latest Social Weather Stations survey, a “new personal record-high” for him according to the polling firm.
The noncommissioned survey was conducted from June 23 to 26 — even as fighting between extremist gunmen and government forces, which promoted Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao, raged on in Marawi City — and first reported in BusinessWorld, which has first printing rights on the poll results.
The poll involved face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults, with sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages and ±6% each for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Reacting to the survey results, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella called it “a clear indication of the growing confidence in the Chief Executive and his performance as the country’s leader.”
Noting that the poll was conducted a month after Duterte declared the whole of Mindanao under martial law, Abella said “it shows tacit public support to the President’s action following the rebellion in Marawi. “
SWS said Duterte’s latest net satisfaction rating “is three points above the very good +63 in December 2016 and March 2017, and is a new personal record-high, surpassing the previous personal record of +64 in September 2016.”
The rating is obtained by subtracting the percentage of dissatisfied from the satisfied.
The survey found 78 percent of respondents satisfied with Duterte’s performance, a three-point increase from 75 percent in March, with dissatisfaction unchanged at 12 percent. The undecided dropped two points from 12 to 10 percent.
In comparison to Duterte, SWS said the personal best net satisfaction ratings of past presidents were:
- Cory Aquino, excellent +72 in October 1986
- Fidel Ramos, very good +69 in July 1993
- Joseph Estrada, very good +67 in March 1999
- Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, good +30 in March 2004
- Benigno Aquino III, very good +67 in August 2012
The rise in Duterte’s overall net satisfaction since March was attributed to an 11-point increase in the Visayas and 8 points in Balance Luzon, which offset a 12-point decline in his home turf of Mindanao and a point in Metro Manila.
Notwithstanding the drop in Mindanao, his rating remained excellent there at 75 (83% satisfied, 8% dissatisfied). His rating was also an excellent +73 (83% satisfied, 10% dissatisfied) in the Visayas.
“It stayed very good in Balance Luzon, at +58 (73% satisfied, 15% dissatisfied) in June, up by 7 points from +51 (68% satisfied, 17% dissatisfied) in March” and “very good in Metro Manila, at +63 (77% satisfied, 13% dissatisfied, correctly rounded) in June, hardly moving from +64 (76% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied) in March.”
The survey results showed Duterte rating “very good” in all classes, with class E giving him the highest score of +67 (80% satisfied, 13% dissatisfied), up seven points from +60 (71% satisfied, 11% dissatisfied) in March.
Class ABC rated him +59 (65% satisfied, 6% dissatisfied), up by 3 points from +56 (67% satisfied, 11% dissatisfied) in March, while class D rated him +66 (78% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied), up two points from +64 (77% satisfied, 13% dissatisfied).
Among genders, his rating was also a very good +69 (79% satisfied, 11% dissatisfied, correctly rounded) among women, up eight points from +61 (74% satisfied, 13% dissatisfied) in March, and +63 (77% satisfied, 14% dissatisfied) among men, up two points from +65 (77% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied).
The 35-44 age group rated Duterte +72 (82% satisfied, 10% dissatisfied, correctly rounded), a 13-point rise that nudged him from very good to excellent, although he also dropped a grade to very good among 25-34 year olds, who rated him +67 (79% satisfied, 11% dissatisfied, correctly rounded), down by 4 points from +71 (79% satisfied, 8% dissatisfied) in March.
He also retained his “very good” rating among all other age groups.
On the other hand, college graduates continued to rate Duterte as excellent, giving him +76.
His ratings remained very good among non-elementary school graduates, elementary school graduates, and high school graduates.
NOTE: SWS terminology for Net Satisfaction Ratings: +70 and above, “excellent”; +50 to +69, “very good”; +30 to +49, “good”; +10 to +29, “moderate”, +9 to –9, “neutral”; –10 to –29, “poor”; –30 to –49, “bad”; –50 to –69, “very bad”; –70 and below, “execrable.” SWS considers the movement from one classification to another as either an “upgrade” or “downgrade.”
Legislators remarked that Filipinos are patient and generous in nature even to their political leaders, which would explain the high satisfaction rating.
They observed, though, that Duterte’s score was not necessarily an indication of genuine progress or the people’s approval of his martial law declaration or of his drug war.
“The first year is usually associated with the honeymoon stage,” Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat said. “And by nature, Filipinos are patient. Thus, it’s expected for the President to get high satisfaction ratings early in his administration.”
“Many would like to give this administration a chance and are willing to gloss over his unfulfilled promises and deadly rhetoric,” he added.
Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano said the people at this stage appear to be giving Duterte the benefit of the doubt.
“Usually, Filipino people give generous ratings until important issues affect them personally in the negative way, like the extra-judicial killings that hit home and the impact of the economic crunch,” he said.
Alejano also noted that the 12% drop in the President’s rating in Mindanao may be due to the declaration of martial law and the “graphic deaths and destructions in Marawi.”
Akbayan partylist Rep. Tom Villarin lamented that the high rating reflects the “numbing effect of a culture of violence, hatred and death that this administration has promoted.”
“With the Supreme Court giving him blanket authority to declare martial law nationwide and his ratings shooting up, what would be the logical conclusion? Will democracy be signing off? Not if we can help it,” he added.
Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate said the high rating “should not be interpreted as support of the majority of our people for Martial law in Mindanao.”
“It is more of the peoples’ optimistic view of the positive things that the Duterte administration did in the first year, like the SSS pension hike, advances in the peace talks, land distribution to farmers and prompt action in the delivery of social services,” he said.
“But all of the positive public perception will dissipate if the administration continues its rightist turn, like the Martial law declaration in Mindanao, or, worse, its possible extension and expansion,” Zarate added.
The President’s allies expectedly rejoiced over the survey.
“President Duterte is sui generis, a unique and one of a kind president. The people trust him because they know that he speaks from the heart and feels his sincerity,” Ako Bicol partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe said.
1-PBA partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles said he expects Duterte’s ratings to go higher once his economic programs go on full steam. (Additional reportage: Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, InterAksyon)
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