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By Melissa Luz T. Lopez, Reporter

Aquino satisfaction best in three quarters

Posted on December 10, 2014

THE YEAR ends with public satisfaction with President Benigno S.C. Aquino III at its highest point in the last three quarters, according to a new report of the Social Weather Stations (SWS), even as one analyst noted such sentiment may already be plateauing as the administration approaches the homestretch.

This quarter’s showing was driven by marked improvements in urban areas, in Luzon areas outside the nation’s capital and among the ABC socioeconomic class, according to results of a Nov. 27-Dec. 1 survey among 1,800 adults nationwide that had sampling error margins of ±2% for national percentages and ±6% each for Metro Manila, “Balance Luzon,” the Visayas and Mindanao.

The latest survey showed 63% of respondents satisfied with Mr. Aquino’s performance while 24% said otherwise, yielding a still-“good” net rating of +39 that was up five points from September’s +34 (59% satisfied and 25% dissatisfied).

SWS classifies net satisfaction 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”; -70 and below, “execrable.” The survey group considers movement from one classification to another either an “upgrade” or a “downgrade.”

A Malacañang official said the latest survey “serves as a spur to greater efforts at improving our people’s lives,” but one analyst noted the same results may show people tempering expectations as the administration winds down its term.

The slight fourth-quarter gain failed to pull the net satisfaction full-year average which, at a “good” +36, paled in comparison to the “very good” averages of +62 for the last two quarters of 2010 right after Mr. Aquino took office, +53 each for 2011 and 2012, and +55 for 2013.

This quarter, Mr. Aquino’s net satisfaction rating rose in three geographic areas, led by a 10-point rise in “Balance Luzon” to a “good” +39 (62% satisfied, 23% dissatisfied) from a “moderate” +29 (57% satisfied, 27% dissatisfied) in the September survey.

The President’s net satisfaction remained “good” at +46 in Mindanao (up three points from +43 in September) and “moderate” at +23 in Metro Manila (up a point).

Net satisfaction with Mr. Aquino stayed “good” at +42% in the Visayas (66% satisfied, 24% dissatisfied), “barely moving” from +43% the previous quarter.

Mr. Aquino’s net score in urban areas improved to “good” from “moderate” with a 10-point rise to +37 (61% satisfied, 24% dissatisfied) this quarter, while rural net satisfaction stayed “good” at +41 (64% satisfied, 23% dissatisfied), a point up from September.

By socioeconomic class, the President received a rating upgrade among class ABC that saw a 22-point increase in net satisfaction to a “good” +49 (65% satisfied, 16% dissatisfied) from a “moderate” +27 (58% satisfied, 32% dissatisfied) in September.

Public satisfaction with Mr. Aquino among class E remained “good” at +45 (66% satisfied, 22% dissatisfied correctly rounded) even as this was seven points more than September’s +38 (60% satisfied, 22% dissatisfied).

Those in class D, or the “masa,” rated him at a “good” +37 (62% satisfied, 25% dissatisfied), three points more than +34 (59% satisfied, 26% dissatisfied) previously.

By gender, net satisfaction with Mr. Aquino’s performance stayed “good” for both men and women. Male respondents rated him +36, up five points from September’s +31, while female respondents gave a +42, also up five from +37.

Asked to comment, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma, Jr. said in a text message: “Through good governance, we will endeavor to attain the key objectives of inclusive economic growth and social development.”

Ramon C. Casiple, executive director of the Institute For Political and Electoral Reform, said the five-point increase in Mr. Aquino’s rating was “an immediate effect of his retreat from his previous stance of openness to a second term” and “reflects people’s agreeing to give him time for his legacy projects.” In August, Mr. Aquino expressed openness to amending the Constitution to clip the powers of the judiciary, alongside changes that could allow him to run a second term. He has since retreated from this position, assuring earlier this week that he was not interested in any government post after he steps down in June 2016.

Edmund S. Tayao, political science professor at the University of Santo Tomas, said Mr. Aquino’s rating will likely remain steady for the rest of his term. “The 5% improvement... suggests public sentiment has plateaued... as he winds down his term. Unless something dramatic happens which could make numbers go up or down dramatically, this will remain as is.”

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