Early this week, the Social Weather Stations revealed that its second quarter survey showed a five-percentage point decline in the satisfaction rating of President Rodrigo Duterte from 70 percent in March to 65 percent in June.
Dissatisfaction rose from 14 percent to 20 percent in the same period. As a result, net satisfaction was 45 percent, just “good” compared to March’s “very good” 56 percent net. Mr. Duterte registered a decline across all geographical areas, the most pronounced of which was in Metro Manila, among male and female respondents alike, and among all age groups except the 18 to 24-year-old age bracket.
“I do not care. It does not interest me at all,” Mr. Duterte said on Tuesday.
His spokesman, Harry Roque, however, appeared very interested and to greatly care about the results of Pulse Asia released Friday, where the President’s approval and trust ratings rose to 88 percent and 87 percent in June from 80 percent and 79 percent in March, respectively.
The Pulse Asia survey was taken between June 15 and June 21.
“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,” Roque said. He also cited Sri Lanka’s emulation of the President’s hard-line approach to illegal drugs as proof of the President’s success.
One reason for the conflicting results is the date of the surveys. Pulse Asia’s was conducted between June 15 and 21, whole SWS’ was done between June 27 and 30. Many things happened between the first and second surveys, notably the now-notorious “God is stupid” statement of the President made June 22 during an information and communication summit in Davao City.
That utterance had a significant fallout for the President, necessitating several clarifications and a dialogue with the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
It could also be that different sets of people were reacting differently to other aspects of the Duterte administration, notably the worsening inflation perceived to be caused in part by the tax reform program, and the campaign not only against illegal drug suspects but also against “tambays”—citizens seen idling on the streets.
If it is true indeed that the President does not care about surveys anymore, that is good news in so far as his resolve to implement measures that he deems beneficial to the country despite being unpopular.
The indifference to surveys, however, should not mean that he should no longer listen to the public’s pulse. There are several barometers of public sentiment and alienating the people—for instance, Catholics who would not take his irreverence sitting down—may have its own dire consequences.
What these conflicting results tell us is that sentiment is fleeting and nobody should feel complacent that he or she would enjoy the people’s satisfaction, approval and trust indefinitely.
That, or the surveys themselves have started acting akin to Mr. Duterte—one way one day, another way the next—which is hardly a reflection of logic, much less a source of comfort, at all. / posted July 15, 2018 at 12:50 am by Manila Standard
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