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Fresh ratings dip for Aquino

Posted on June 21, 2011

SATISFACTION with President Benigno S.C. Aquino III’s performance has dipped to merely "good" from "very good," the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said in a new report released just a little over a week before the country’s chief executive completes his first year in office.

Results of a June 3-6 poll made exclusive to BusinessWorld put Mr. Aquino’s net satisfaction rating at +46, with 64% of respondents indicating their approval and 18% saying they were not content. This was down from March’s "very good" net score of +51 (69% satisfied, 18% dissatisfied), which was also a drop from president’s best score of +64 -- also "very good" -- recorded in November last year.

Malacañang downplayed the drop, with an official noting that declines were limited and national dissatisfaction did not increase. A political analyst said the showing was expected as "the honeymoon is over," adding that Mr. Aquino’s second year performance would be crucial if he is to maintain his support.

By geographic area, socioeconomic class and sex, Mr. Aquino’s ratings were all in the "good" and "very good" ranges. For its satisfaction surveys, the SWS classifies net scores of +70 and above as "excellent"; +50 to +69, "very good"; +30 to +49, "good"; +10 to +29, "moderate", +9 to -9, "neutral"; -10 to -29, "poor"; -30 to -49, "bad"; -50 to -69, "very bad"; and -70 and below, "execrable."

The SWS’ June survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide and sampling error margins of ±3% for national and ±6% for area percentages.

Respondents from Metro Manila and Balance Luzon said the president was "good" at his job; those from the Visayas and Mindanao gave him "very good" ratings.

In Metro Manila, Mr. Aquino got a "good" net rating of +43 (62% satisfied, 19% dissatisfied), slightly higher than March’s "good" +41 (62% satisfied, 21% dissatisfied).

The rest of Luzon gave him a "good" +41 (60% satisfied, 19% dissatisfied), down from the similarly "good" +48 (68% satisfied, 20% dissatisfied) three months earlier.

Mr. Aquino maintained his "very good" standing in the Visayas at +51 (67% satisfied, 17% dissatisfied, correctly rounded), although the score was lower than the prior +60 (75% satisfied, 15% dissatisfied).

The president also kept his "very good" standing in Mindanao with a score of +54 (71% satisfied, 17% dissatisfied), barely changing from +53 (69% satisfied, 16% dissatisfied).

Rural net satisfaction, however, fell by eight points into "good" territory at +47 (65% satisfied, 18% dissatisfied) from March’s "very good" +55 (71% satisfied, 16% dissatisfied).

Urban net satisfaction stayed "good" at +45 (63% satisfied, 18% dissatisfied) but also fell by two points from +47 (66% satisfied, 20% dissatisfied, correctly rounded).

Mr. Aquino’s net rating among the class ABC, meanwhile, rose by nine points to a "very good" +58 (74% satisfied, 16% dissatisfied) from the "good" +49 (67% satisfied, 19% dissatisfied) in the previous quarter.

The gain was offset, however, by a lower score among the class D or masa: a "good" +44 (63% satisfied, 19% dissatisfied), seven points down from the "very good" +51 (69% satisfied, 18% dissatisfied) three months earlier.

As for class E, satisfaction fell by two points to a "good" +48 (66% satisfied, 18% dissatisfied), also down from the "very good" +50 (67% satisfied, 17% dissatisfied) previously.

Mr. Aquino’s net rating stayed "good" among men at +49 (67% satisfied, 17% dissatisfied, correctly rounded), up from +47 (67% satisfied, 20% dissatisfied) previously.

Women, however, appear to be more exacting: their collective verdict was a "good" +43 (62% satisfied, 19% dissatisfied), 12 points down from the previous "very good" score of +55 (70% satisfied, 16% dissatisfied).

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the survey results were "better than expected" in that the overall five-point decline was slower than the 13-point plunge between November 2010 and March 2011.

"We have arrested the decline from the drop in the last quarter, when it was a huge 13 points," Mr. Lacierda told BusinessWorld.

"SWS’ June 3-6 survey shows that while nationwide satisfaction ratings have slightly dipped ... [but] the figure remains in the good range," he added.

"It is also noteworthy that the level of dissatisfaction did not increase nationally, remaining at 18%."

Ramon C. Casiple, political analyst at the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms, said the drop is not entirely surprising given that the "honeymoon is over."

He said Manila and the rest of Luzon, as well as the D and E classes, are the ones currently struggling with the effects of rising consumer prices and have thus responded by giving Mr. Aquino lower scores.

"D and E will be most affected by the crisis of inflation," Mr. Casiple said

The ABC class and the urban folk, given their access to media, would have a mixed reaction depending on the news: the ABC, for example, would have seen the administration’s strong stance against alleged wrongdoings at the Office of the Ombudsman as a positive.

As for Mindanao’s ratings, Mr. Casiple noted "ambivalence."

"This was the time of the postponement of the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) elections and the people seem to favor that ... given the promise of reforms, it’s a conditional approval," he said.

"If he appoints a good person to see those reforms through, then it will strengthen support," Mr. Casiple added.

The first year shows a natural progressive lowering of ratings, he said, as the voting public is still likely to give the president chances and political power is still being consolidated; it is the second year that is more "crucial."

"President Aquino has the overwhelming support of both houses [of Congress] ... but this is under constant pressure ... the second year is crucial because the other side will be working all that they can too," he said. -- Johanna Paola D. Poblete