President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval and trust ratings rose to record highs in June, Pulse Asia said Friday, in sharp contrast to an 11-percentage point decline in his net satisfaction rating reported earlier this week by the rival research company Social Weather Stations.
In a report released Friday, Pulse Asia said Duterte’s approval rating went up to 88 percent from 80 percent in March, despite growing criticism of high prices that accompanied his tax reform program.
The President’s trust rating, meanwhile, rose to 87 percent from 79 percent in March, Pulse Asia said.
The Pulse Asia survey of 1,800 respondents was conducted from June 15 to 21, before Duterte’s “God is stupid” remarks triggered widespread condemnation by the Catholic Church and other religious groups.
The June approval rating was two percentage points higher than the 86 percent Duterte obtained just three months into his presidency in September 2016.
In the Pulse Asia survey, only 3 percent disapproved of Duterte’s leadership, while the remaining respondents were undecided. Duterte remained the most approved government official, followed by former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel III with 72 percent,
Vice President Leni Robredo with 62 percent, and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez with 47 percent.
Duterte also remained the most trusted official in government, followed by Pimentel (64 percent), Robredo (56 percent), Alvarez (45 percent), and ousted Supreme Court chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno (19 percent).
The Palace, which had earlier said the Cabinet would work harder in the face of the SWS findings, expressed gratitude Friday for the people’s continued trust and confidence in the President.
But Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the President does not work for such ratings.
“The President views these latest survey results with all humility. However, he is not leading the country for the sake of high or good ratings,” Roque said.
“President Duterte is working double time to rid society of drugs, criminality, and corruption to achieve his goal of bringing a comfortable life for all,” he added.
Roque also cited remarks from Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who cited the Philippines as its model to “replicate the success” of the country’s war on drug.
“With the 88 percent [approval rating], [it is the] all-time high of any president. All Filipinos supported the actions of the President so it is not really questionable that we have fans of the President even from Sri Lanka,” he said.
“The performance probe asks respondents to assess the work done by selected government officials in the three months prior to the conduct of the survey. Senator Pimentel still occupied the Senate presidency during most of the quarter covered by this survey’s performance probe,” Pulse Asia said in a statement.
Sereno’s trust rating was at 19 percent in June, down three points from March’s 22 percent.
The nationwide survey had a ± 2 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level.
Earlier this week, SWS said Duterte suffered an 11-point drop in his net satisfaction, which fell to a new low of +45. That survey, conducted from June 27-30, covered the period in which Duterte called God “stupid.”
SWS obtained the net satisfaction rating by subtracting those who were satisfied with Duterte’s performance (65 percent) with those that were dissatisfied (20 percent). It reported that the remaining 15 percent were undecided.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said he believes Duterte’s “crass language and blunt words” projected his sincerity, resulting in his high ratings in the Pulse Asia survey.
“In my long years in politics, somehow, I’ve learned two major factors that endear our country’s leaders to the people—performance and messaging, not necessarily in that order,” Lacson said.
But opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV raised doubts about Duterte’s high ratings in the latest Pulse Asia survey, citing the sharp difference with the SWS findings.
“It is clearly a sampling design error and, therefore, invalid,” Trillanes said of the Pulse Asia survey.
He even said that Pulse Asia, historically, uses respondents in Davao City to represent the population for the entire Mindanao.
“This is not valid anymore because the respondents of the other regions are clearly not as fanatical to or fearful of Duterte as the Davaoeños are,” he said.
In the June survey, the Senate got a 69 percent approval rating, 9 percentage points higher than 60 percent in March.
The House of Representatives enjoyed an approval rating of 66 percent, up 10 percentage points from 56 percent in March.
Supreme Court also got higher public approval in June, up 10 percentage points to 63 percent from 53 percent in March.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Duterte’s Pulse Asia numbers “speak for itself.”