Aquino Sinks to Lowest Yet

The second quarter of 2014 saw President Benigno Aquino III’s lowest performance ever in survey ratings by research firms Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) since he took office in 2010.

The second quarter of 2014 saw President Benigno Aquino III’s lowest performance ever in survey ratings by research firms Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) since he took office in 2010.

Pulse Asia’s Ulat ng Bayan reported a 56% performance rating and 53% trust rating by respondents across the archipelago. The Social Weather Report by SWS on the other hand reported a “moderate” net satisfaction rating of +25. The two research firms use different indicators in determining public approval of the administration.

Field work wrapped up just a day after the Supreme Court declared the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional. The survey period also came ahead of the nationwide live telecast of Aquino’s explanation of DAP to the public on July 14. That same day, the list of DAP-funded projects was made available without much detail. Earlier, the President rejected the resignation of Budget and Management Secretary Butch Abad in a Cabinet meeting on July 11.

The surveys were conducted in the wake of the filing of plunder charges and arrest orders against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla in connection with the pork barrel scam. Other developments included the President’s rejection of Nora Aunor as National Artist, price hikes of garlic, rice, and sugar due to reported low supply and allegations of smuggling, and the series of killings in Metro Manila involving several high-profile individuals.

Public disillusionment to widespread corruption exposed in the pork barrel scam investigations is attributed as the primary reason for the dip in the President’s ratings, according to Pulse Asia research director Dr. Ana Maria Tabunda. The Ulat ng Bayan also revealed that since the end of 2013, his trust rating has now sunk lower than his performance rating (Table 1). The Social Weather Report also shows less people satisfied with the President and registering their dissatisfaction (Table 2).

 

Table 1. Performance and Trust Rating of President Aquino, 2014

 

 Table 2. Net Satisfaction Rating of President Aquino, 2010-2014 

 

 

Consistent Dip, Varying Extent

While the dip in ratings is consistent across regions (Table 3) and income classes (Table 4), the surveys also showed the varying extent of support the President has from the different classes and geographic areas.

 

Table 3. Performance Ratings by Region (Pulse Asia), Dec. 2013-June 2014 

 

  Table 3-1. Trust Ratings by Region (Pulse Asia), Dec. 2013-June 2014 

 

  Table 3-2. Net Satisfaction Ratings by Region (Social Weather Stations), Dec. 2013-June 2014 

 

 Table 4. Performance Ratings by Income Class (Pulse Asia), Dec. 2013-June 2014 

 

 Table 4-1 Trust Ratings by Income Class (Pulse Asia), Dec. 2013-June 2014 

 

 Table 4-2. Net Satisfaction Rating by Income Class (Social Weather Stations), Dec. 2013-June 2014 

 

 

He still maintains a strong base in the Visayas and Mindanao, and among members of Class E. These sectors have given him the highest marks compared to the rest but the declining numbers indicate that the President’s performance in the past months have already given them second thoughts.

Balance Luzon and Class D were more pragmatic than the rest, entering the year slightly more optimistic. It should be noted that these same groups showed the most disappointment in the second quarter of the year.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila and Classes A, B, and C solidified their position as least supportive of the President, although the latter did post high net satisfaction at the end of 2013. They entered 2014 least optimistic than the other groups. It appears that they were the first sector to be disillusioned with the Pork Barrel scam and it shows that the latest developments have not hampered their anxiety. These are the groups that are more vocal over the internet and social media and experience firsthand the results of inefficient management from price hikes to poor transportation systems (MRT, airports, etc.) and the like. (Tables 5 & 6)

 

Table 5. Comparative Ratings by Region (Pulse Asia and SWS), June 2014 

 

 Table 6. Comparative Ratings by Income Class (Pulse Asia and SWS), June 2014  

 

 

Comparing his bases today from when he was first elected in 2010 (Table 7) show some surprising trends. Despite the dip, Aquino still enjoys support from the Visayas while improving his numbers in Mindanao which was his weakest base when he was elected. In contrast, his performance in the NCR has declined greatly since when he was elected. 

Among income groups, Class A,B,C which was his strongest base in 2010 now appear to be most critical of his performance and now trust him the least. He has also declined performance among the Class D but has improved vastly among the Class E since he was elected.

 

Table 7. Presidential Preference of Aquino by Region and Income Class (Pulse Asia), May 2010 

 

However, if dipstick were to be made today, and with the aftermath of DAP, the President’s ratings would be much lower. The numbers clearly show that the public has become disillusioned. They distrust the rampant politicking in government. More importantly, they expect leadership that actually makes their lives better in more concrete ways and one that actually delivers the promises of “tuwid na daan.”

 

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