POVERTY is the most pressing problem today, the latest The Standard Poll conducted by this newspaper’s resident pollster Junie Laylo shows.
In the survey conducted between Jan. 27 and Feb. 4, 23 percent of respondents nationwide rated poverty as the top concern, followed by corruption (20 percent), drug addiction or illegal drugs (14 percent), unemployment or lack of jobs (12 percent) and high prices of goods and services (9 percent).
Poverty was also the second most-cited reason for the nation’s being on the wrong track (16 percent), next to government corruption (25 percent).
Poverty was not the top issue in previous surveys.
In May 2015, respondents said unemployment was the worst problem (29 percent), followed by corruption (19 percent), high prices of goods and services (17 percent), and drug addiction or illegal drugs (7 percent). Only 3 percent of those asked in May said poverty was the top national issue.
The number went even lower in September, with only 2 percent citing poverty.
In the December survey, corruption emerged as the top issue (31 percent), followed by poverty, drugs, unemployment and high prices at 15 percent, 14 percent, 10 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
In terms of geography, respondents from the Visayas who most strongly felt poverty was the main issue at 27 percent, higher than the national figure of 23 percent. The next most worrisome problem in the Visayas was drugs (22 percent) followed by corruption (19 percent).
For those in Mindanao, poverty was also top concern (22 percent).
Respondents from Metro Manila rated corruption as the top national problem (28 percent), with poverty coming in second (24 percent).
In Northern and Central Luzon, these two issues were both cited by 25 percent of respondents.
Other problems cited in the open-ended question were criminality, low salary or income, traffic, school facilities, flooding, water supply, illegal gambling, lack of housing and presence of rebel groups.
The Standard Poll was conducted with 3,000 respondents across the country, with 300 from the National Capital Region, 700 from Northern and Central Luzon, 600 from South Luzon and Bicol, 700 in the Visayas and 700 from Mindanao.
All respondents were biometrically registered voters who said they are certain to vote in the May elections.
The Standard Poll has a margin of error of +/-1.8 percent nationwide.