MANILA - President Benigno Aquino III's net satisfaction rating in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey appears to have recovered lost ground, but is still nowhere near his previous highs.
A closer look at the survey shows that Aquino's net satisfaction rating is +34, up 9 points from his June rating of +25. However, it is still lower than his March 2014 net rating of +45.
At his most popular, Aquino polled a +67 net satisfaction rating in August 2012. His +34 rating is still one of his lowest numbers since the start of his presidency.
Aquino's satisfaction rating plunged in June amid the Supreme Court's (SC) decision to declare parts of his alleged pork barrel -- the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) -- as unconstitutional.
Malacañang lost no time calling out its critics who have predicted a downtrend in the president's popularity, pointing to the SWS survey showing the chief executive's ratings recovering after the fallout from the DAP.
In a statement, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte noted that the latest "snapshot of public opinion" shows gross satisfaction with the president rising to 59% and dissatisfaction falling to 25%.
"The professional naysayers and predictors of doom will perhaps find it inconvenient that their predictions of a trend have not materialized. President Aquino's ratings remain historically high compared to the same period of other administrations," Valte said.
"Surveys are snapshots of a political landscape at a certain time and accordingly fluctuate. The more accurate measure of government performance is the number of people who are empowered to take advantage of new and better opportunities," she added.
Dissatisfaction with Aquino was most pronounced in the National Capital Region and urban areas, and among the ABC classes.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said, "Malacañang is delirious with joy over the recent SWS survey ratings. Palace spokespersons will now use the results to boost the second-term ambitions of the President even if there is no legal basis for such.
"Whatever the survey results are, Aquino cannot claim that he deserves a second term or that his performance is stellar. The people will not support a second term, that is for sure. In the coming days, Aquino will also face growing protests over fare hikes and corruption. So Valte and friends can whoop it up today, but the Aquino is not yet off the hook by any means."
For the president's part, Valte said they attribute the recovery of the rating to Aquino's work.
"Nakikita naman po natin that despite all of these issues na lumalabas, and that we respond to, nakikita pa rin naman po. We trust that the public continues to see the reform agenda of the President and how we continue to push for their interests. We concentrate on the work that has been done and we concentrate on the work that still needs to be done, and to us, that is more important. Considering that there are only 630-something days left, then you really need to continue to focus on the work that is left to do," she said.
Earlier this week, another pollster, Pulse Asia, said that Filipinos gave the Aquino administration failing marks in handling concerns most urgent to them, one of which is the economy.
The Aquino administration posted a net approval rating of -24 in curbing inflation, -13 in reducing poverty and -8 in increasing the pay of workers. It also had low approval ratings in creating jobs (5%), controlling population growth (8%), fighting graft and corruption in government (17%), and enforcing the rule of law on all (+22%).
This, amid the context of non-inclusive economic growth, the delayed implementation of the reproductive health law, and the absence of corruption cases filed against administration allies.
Amid the spate of high profile crimes recently, the administration posted its highest approval ratings in fighting criminality (35%), defending Philippine territory, (29%), increasing peace in the country (28%), and stopping the destruction of the environment (23%).
This, amid the government's ongoing tension with China over the West Philippine Sea, and the delayed legislation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law -- seen as key to implementing a landmark peace deal with the MILF inked last March.
The SWS survey, meanwhile, was released as Bayan marked the anniversary of the DAP.
"It has been three years since the first DAP memo was signed by Aquino on October 12, 2011. Up to now, the proponents have not fully explained how the funds were used and were the funds are. Even worse, Aquino continues to justify DAP despite a ruling by the SC. The supposed benefits of presidential pork have not been felt."
"It is quite tragic that institutions like the Senate have not fully investigated DAP, holding only 1 hearing, in stark contrast to other issues. We urge the SC to rule with finality on the legality of DAP. We call on the people to demand accountability of Aquino, Abad, and lawmakers who conspired to promote DAP," the group said.
'BINAY'S LOSS IS PNOY'S GAIN?'
Meanwhile, UP political analyst Jean Franco thinks Aquino may be benefiting from the controversies hounding the vice president.
"The DAP controversy has been toned down. Instead, Binay has been the focus of media attention," said Francon in a text message.
The September 2014 SWS survey was conducted from September 26 to 29, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide, 300 each in Metro Manila, the Balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages, ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao).
The survey question on public satisfaction with the president is phrased as follows: "Maaari po bang pakisabi ninyo kung gaano kayo nasisiyahan o hindi nasisiyahan sa pagganap ng tungkulin ni Benigno Aquino III bilang Presidente ng Pilipinas. Kayo ba ay lubos na nasisiyahan, medyo nasisiyahan, hindi tiyak kung nasisiyahan o hindi, medyo hindi nasisiyahan, lubos na hindi nasisiyahan, o wala pa kayong narinig o nabasa kahit na kailan tungkol kay Benigno Aquino III?"
On people's opinion on Aquino's success or failure as a president, the question was: "Sa kalaunan, si Pangulong Noynoy Aquino po ba sa palagay ninyo ay magiging matagumpay na pangulo, hindi magiging matagumpay na pangulo, o masyado pang maaga para matiyak ito?
A survey on Aquino's performance and trust ratings for the same period by rival pollster Pulse Asia shows his ratings to be steady, though he continues to enjoy popularity.