MANILA— President Rodrigo Duterte's satisfaction rating peaked in November 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Social Weather Stations bared on Thursday.
In a webinar, SWS revealed Duterte got the following net satisfaction ratings, or the difference between the percentage of those who were satisfied and dissatisfied with his performance.
- +79, November 2020
(84 percent satisfied, 6 percent dissatisfied, 9 percent undecided)
- +65, May 2021
(75 percent satisfied, 10 percent dissatisfied, 15 percent undecided)
- +62, June 2021
(75 percent satisfied, 13 percent dissatisfied, 12 percent undecided)
The +79 net satisfaction rating that Duterte scored in November last year was his highest since 2016, based on an SWS table.
How did Duterte remain popular, despite the coronavirus crisis that left businesses struggling and millions jobless?
“The short answer is most people actually do not think government mismanaged the pandemic, that is what the survey results show,” said SWS fellow Geoffrey Ducanes.
“They actually give the government relatively high rating in terms of taking care of those who got COVID, and relatively high rating in terms of COVID vaccination.”
COVID mismanagement had a “weak” correlation with satisfaction rating, said Ducanes, an associate professor at the Ateneo de Manila University Department of Economics.
“In the June 2021 survey, what seemed more important for people was the perception that government was helping the poor during the pandemic, which might have something to do with ayuda (cash assistance),” he said.
About 69 percent of families received ayuda last year, based on SWS data, noted the pollster's fellow-in-residence and board member Steven Rood.
This year, the cash assistance was mostly in Metro Manila and 4 surrounding areas, an area government calls NCR Plus. Some 79 percent of families in the capital region received cash aid, while 65 percent got aid in other Luzon areas, he noted.
“A lot of people got money directly from the government,” Rood said.
WHY RELEASE INFO ONLY NOW?
The first pandemic survey was conducted over the phone, instead of the typical SWS face-to-face interviews, Ducanes said.
“Since there was a big change in the satisfaction rating before the pandemic and during the pandemic, and there was a change in methodology, there was a decision not to release it immediately,” he said.
The last SWS pre-pandemic survey in December 2019 found Duterte’s satisfaction rating at +72.
“Later on, the thinking was that, ‘Well, maybe before we release this, we should try to understand what’s driving this satisfaction rating,” Ducanes continued.
The Philippines, which is fighting one of Asia's worst coronavirus outbreaks, has confirmed some 2.4 million coronavirus infections, including about 37,000 deaths overall.