PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s trust and satisfaction ratings in two leading opinion polls seemed to be contradicting each other, analysts said Friday.
While both surveys were conducted around the same time, days after Duterte issued Proclamation No. 319 declaring Sept. 21 as a National Day of aProtest—the two polling firms results painted a different picture on the public’s sentiment towards Duterte, political analyst and De La Salle University Prof. Richard Heydarian said.
“We have two major polling firms — the one saying that there could be statistical relevance than average that the President’s support bases may be back tracking—while another one is saying that the support to President Duterte remains resilient. So bottomline of the two surveys, it’s contradictory,” Heydarian told the Manila Standard in Filipino.
In the latest Third Quarter Social Weather survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations from September 23 to 27 with 1,500 respondents but was released Sunday, Duterte’s net satisfaction ratings slipped to “good” +48 from June’s “very good” +66 — with 67 percent of adult Filipinos satisfied with Duterte’s performance, while 14 percent were undecided, and 19 percent were dissatisfied.
In a related development, the camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said on Friday the huge decrease in her ratings was expected, given all the “incessant attacks” and “vicious smear campaign” thrown against her.
Chief Justice’s spokesperson Josa Deinla said regardless of the survey results, Sereno would continue to fulfill her duties and constitutional mandates.
“The incessant attacks and vicious smear campaign against Chief Justice Sereno are expected to affect her net satisfaction ratings,” Deinla said.
She cited for the past months, Sereno has been publicly vilified to justify attempts to unseat her on the basis of unfounded allegations.
“Which are not even impeachable offenses under the Constitution,” Deinla said.
Last week, the House committee on justice ruled it found “sufficient grounds” to impeach Sereno, even without detailing point-by-point the issue raised against her by petitioner Lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon.
“As the country’s top magistrate, Chief Justice Sereno will continue to fulfill her duties and constitutional mandate regardless of survey results,” Sereno’s spokesperson said. John Paolo Bencito and Sara Fabunan
She said Sereno remained confident that justice would rule in her favor.
“She remains confident that when all the facts are presented, the allegations being leveled against her--all being falsehoods--will ultimately crumble,” Deinla said.
The ruling PDP Laban party, meanwhile, celebrated the latest survey results of Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia showing that its two top leaders, President and Party Chairman Rodrigo Duterte, and Senate President and Party President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, continue to enjoy high trust and satisfaction ratings from the public.
The SWS said the satisfaction ratings of Duterte is at 67%, while Pimentel’s is at 60%, for net satisfaction ratings of +48 and +46, respectively, and Pulse Asia showed that the approval rating of the President is at 80%, while the Senate President’s is at 55%.
“The survey results show continued strong support for PDP Laban’s platform of Change from the Filipino people”, said Energy Secretary and PDP Laban Vice Chair Alfonso “Al” Cusi.
Both surveys were conducted during the last week of September.
House Speaker and Party Secretary General Pantaleon Alvarez trailed behind Duterte and Pimentel, with 34% satisfaction rating in the SWS poll and 33% approval in the Pulse Asia survey.
However, Cusi is unfazed, saying, “The surveys show a third to a half of the respondents were undecided about Speaker Alvarez. I think this is due to the political noise centered in the House in the past couple of months. I am confident that he will bounce back as people start feeling change happening in their lives.”
Pimentel, who enjoyed a personal record high net satisfaction rating, said he was thankful for the results, but believed it was a product of the hard work of the Senate and all the senators, instead of him personally.
The Senate President promised to work harder to repay the trust of the Filipino people.
PDP Laban, which commands a supermajority in the House, and also leads a majority coalition in the Senate, was swept into power on the back of popular support for Duterte and the Party’s platform of Federalism and Change.
The Senate and House are currently tackling the budget and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, or TRAIN.
The two measures are key to the Party’s plan for equitable growth for the country.
Cusi said, “When I read the survey, the numbers told me we’re on the right track, and we must push harder for genuine reforms. The Filipino people are waiting for us to fulfill our promises.”
The SWS survey had sampling error margins of ±2.5 percent for national percentages, ±4 percent for Balance Luzon, and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao.
By area, the President’s net satisfaction rating from June 2017 to September 2017 fell by 30 points in the Visayas, 22 points in Balance Luzon, and 19 points in Metro Manila, while it stayed steady in Mindanao.
It stayed excellent in Mindanao, at +76 (82% satisfied, 6% dissatisfied) in September 2017, hardly moving from +75 (83% satisfied, 8% dissatisfied) in June 2017.
Heydarian said that surveys should also take into account on how the public understands questions in surveys, such as “satisfaction” and “trust” — noting that “the two are very interrelated and intertwined.”
He likewise said that the spate of teenage deaths shouldn’t be easily brushed off, and should have been captured during the conduct of the surveys.
“My hunch is there is declining Duterte support but we have two different bottomline. I think the truth is somewhere in between those two surveys. Assuming we are comparing apples and apples, not apples and oranges,” he added.
Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Economic Reforms, stressed that since both surveys were “conducted close to each other,” the methodologies of these surveys “should be examined.”
Among those that could be looked at, Casiple said, were the areas of survey, universe size and distribution, questions asked, method of data classification and consolidation, among others.
Heydarian likewise noted the same, adding that the two public opinion surveys had “divergent outcomes” and explain how they come up “with almost opposite bottomline implications.”
A third credible survey firm could also enter the picture and act as sort of ‘tie breaker’ to these surveys, he added.
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