MANILA — A record-high percentage of Filipinos are pessimistic about their quality of life, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Tuesday, as the coronavirus pandemic left millions jobless and businesses struggling to survive.
Out of 4,010 working-age Filipinos polled between May 4 and 10, 43 percent said they expected their quality of life to worsen, 24 percent said it would stay the same, and another 24 percent said it would improve in the next 12 months.
The percentage of pessimists "is the new peak in the 37-year history of 135 SWS surveys, breaking the previous record 34 percent in March 2005," said the pollster.
"The 24 percent Optimists in May 2020 is just 4 points above the record-low 20 percent in October 2000 and March 2005," it said.
Subtracting the percentage of pessimists from the percentage of optimists yields a "net optimism score" of –18, which is " the worst in survey history, breaking the previous record –13 in October 2000 and March 2005," said SWS.
The score plummeted from +44 in December 2019, it said.
Net Optimism is "rarely negative." Only 12 out of the 135 SWS surveys since 1984 have a score of net zero or lower, said SWS.
"Negative ratings in 1984, 2000, and 2005 were associated with political unrest in the late Marcos-era, the impeachment crisis of Joseph Estrada, and the controversial 2004 election of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo," it said.
"The last time the score was negative was in June 2008 at –6. Thereafter, the score has been positive in all 46 surveys between September 2008 and December 2019. Moreover, all scores have been high (+20 to +29) or better since September 2009," it added.
RATING ACROSS AREAS, SOCIAL CLASSES
Net optimism reached its record-lows in the Visayas and Mindanao at –37 and –32, respectively. It was at –16 in Metro Manila and –5 in other Luzon areas, said SWS.
Optimism was lower in areas under the second most relaxed lockdown or general community quarantine at –25 compared to the –16 in the strictest ECQ or enhanced community quarantine, said the pollster.
Areas that were under ECQ until last May 15 included Metro Manila, Central Luzon except Aurora Province, Calabarzon, Benguet Pangasinan, Iloilo, and Cebu provinces, and Bacolod and Davao cities. All other areas were classified under GCQ.
By educational attainment, net optimism is lowest among non-elementary school graduates at –30, followed by elementary school graduates at –27, junior high school graduates at –18, and college graduates at –7.
In the 4 surveys of 2019, the scores were very high or excellent in all education groups, SWS said.
By job situation, net optimism is similar among those who are employed and receiving full pay (–13), and those who never had a job (–14). It is lower among those who lost their jobs at –20 and those who are employed but are not receiving pay –26.
The SWS survey was conducted through interviews over the phone or computer among respondents who are 15 years old and above.
It had sampling error margins of ±2 percent for national scores, ±6 percent for Metro Manila, ±2 percent for Balance Luzon, ±3 percent Visayas, and ±3 percent in Mindanao.