Nearly half of the working Filipinos surveyed by Social Weather Stations expected the quality of their lives to worsen in the next 12 months.
The survey, conducted from May 4 to 10 and released on Tuesday, asked some 4,010 Filipinos aged 15 and above what they thought the quality of their lives would be in the next 12 months.
The survey found that 43 percent expected the quality of their lives to worsen (pessimists), 24 percent expected their lives to stay the same, and 24 percent expecting their lives to improve (optimists) in the next 12 months.
SWS says the 43 percent proportion of the pessimists was the new peak in the 37-year history of 135 SWS surveys, breaking the previous record of 34 percent in March 2005.
Meanwhile, the 24 percent who believed their lives would improve, dubbed by SWS as optimists, were just four points above the record-low of 20 percent in October 2000 and March 2005.
SWS says the May 2020 net optimism score, which was at -18, is the worst in survey history, topping the previous record of -13 in October 2000 and March 2005. The score also dropped from +44 in December 2019.
In another survey conducted from May 4 to 10 among 4,010 respondents, 83 percent said the quality of their lives got worse (SWS called them losers) while 10 percent said their lives were the same (unchanged). Only six percent said their lives got better (gainers) compared to a year ago.
Of the three groups, only the losers recorded a negative net personal optimism score (the percentage of optimists minus the percentage of pessimists) at –25. They were followed by the unchanged at +10 and the gainers at +24.
The gainers from the past were always the most optimistic and the losers always the least optimistic about the future. In the four surveys of 2019, the Net Personal Optimism scores were high or better in all groups, even for the losers. The scores also generally stayed within the same grade range.
However, all scores dropped in May 2020, with the losers recording the biggest decline from December 2019 with 55 points. They were followed by the gainers (down 34 points) and the unchanged (down 27 points).
SWS attributed the nationwide net personal optimism score of –18 to the low or very low scores in all areas. The scores reached record-lows in the Visayas and Mindanao at –37 and –32, respectively. The scores were –16 in Metro Manila and –5 in Balance Luzon.
The net personal optimism score was lower in the General Community Quarantine areas at –25, compared with the Enhanced Community Quarantine areas at –13.
SWS said the net personal optimism by job situation was lower among those who had a job but were not receiving pay at –26, and among those who had no job but used to have one at –20. This was followed by those who never had a job at –14 and those who had a job and were receiving full pay at –13.
The survey showed that only college graduates received a low net optimism score while the rest received very low scores. The score was lowest among the non-elementary graduates at –30, followed by the elementary graduates at –27, the junior high school graduates at –18, and the college graduates at –7.
The SWS survey was conducted using mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviews amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines.