Duterte approval, trust ratings at 91% amid COVID-19 crisis — Pulse Asia

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his fifth State of the Nation Address at Batasan Pambansa on July 27, 2020.
Screenshot from RTVM

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:59 p.m.) — A recently released poll shows that four of the country's top public officials enjoy majority approval ratings from the Filipino people. 

The survey was conducted by research company Pulse Asia and found that President Rodrigo Duterte enjoys high approval and trust ratings — both at 91%. 

Meanwhile, 5% of respondents said they disapproved of the sitting president while another 5% said they were undecided. The private pollster caveated that figures may not add up to a clean 100% due to rounding off or because of "dont know" and "refuse" to answer responses. 

Six percent of the survey's respondents also said that they were undecided about their trust in Duterte while another 3% said they had little or no trust in the chief executive. 

These overwhelming approval and trust ratings for the president were logged even as the Philippines recently became the country with 20th most COVID-19 cases in the globe.

Latest figures from the Department of Health place the national caseload at over 322,000 and deaths at 5,776. It has been 204 days since Metro Manila was first placed under lockdown. 

Vice President Leni Robredo garnered a 57-percent approval rating, with 21% undecided and 22% disapproving of her performance. Her trust ratings, however, failed to capture the majority at 50%, with 28% undecided and 22% saying they had small or no trust in her. 

Senate President Vicente Sotto III received an 84-percent approval rating, with 10% undecided and 6% disapproving of his performance. His trust ratings are at 79%, with 16% undecided and 5% logging little to no trust. 

House Speaker Alan Cayetano (Taguig-Pateros), currently embroiled in a power struggle with Rep. Lord Velasco (Marinduque) for leadership of the lower chamber, posted an approval rating of 70% and a trust rating of 67%. 

Cayetano's disapproval ratings are at 10% while 19% of respondents told Pulse Asia that they were undecided. Nine percent of respondents also said they had small or no trust in the house speaker while another 23% said they were undecided on the matter. 

"Most Filipinos are appreciative of the work done by four of the country's leading government officials; public assessment of these officials' performance is essentially unchanged between December 2019 and September 2020," the private pollster said. 

All four officials mentioned thus far posted 100% awareness ratings. However, Supeme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta posted a significantly lower awareness rating of 68%. 

Peralta also received the lowest approval and trust ratings at 47% and 39%, respectively. He received the highest percentage of undecided responses for both approval at 37% and trust at 42%. 

Meanwhile, the chief justice garnered a disapproval rating of 13% — with the same number of respondents saying they had little to no trust in him. 

Pulse Asia said it conducted the survey from September 14 to 20 with respondents across geographic areas and socioeconomic groupings. The private pollster said it interviewed 1,200 representative individuals face-to-face, age 18 years old and above.

Palace celebrates

A previous survey conducted by the same pollster showed that Duterte garnered an 87% approval rating from respondents in December 2019. This means that Duterte's favorability increased by four percent in 2020. 

His trust ratings increased by an even larger proportion of eight percent, from 83% in 2019 to 91% in 2020. 

The vice president's approval ratings went down but only by one percent while her trust ratings decreased by three percent — from 53% to 50% — compared to 2019. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Monday celebrated the newly released survey while holding a virtual briefing from Boracay. 

"We thank the Filipino people because of the new Pulse Asia survey," he said in Filipino, citing Duterte's high ratings per the poll. 

Roque also took a swipe at Robredo, claiming that her lower poll numbers were due to her alleged politicization of the government's pandemic response.
Malacañang has often accused the vice president of criticizing the Duterte administration for political reasons, even though Robredo has often cited the recommendations of experts and stakeholders when making suggestions to improve the efforts to combat COVID-19. 

Political analyst: President's approval, trust ratings 'too high'

When asked to comment on the findings of the survey, political analyst Ramon Casiple said Duterte's approval ratings were "too high," given the events which unfolded between the end of last year and September 2020. 

"The December 2019 results were already very high. At a time of rising epidemic incidence, the normal effect would have been a downtrend, given the Philhealth scandal and deeper crisis early in the year," Casiple told Philstar.com through text. 

Casiple, who is the chief executive of think tank Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, added that trust and approval rating over 90% "cannot normally be sustained," given these conditions. 

Pulse Asia noted that the following issues were among the top headlines "immediately prior to and during the conduct of the interviews" for the survey:

  • Developments in the probes into alleged corruption and mismanagement at PhilHealth, including the replacement of the agency's chief, the release of the initial findings of Task Force PhilHealth, and the release of the Senate Committee of the Whole report
  • The controversial project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to dump sand along a 120-meter strip of Manila Bay which cost about P389 million and the failure to implement strict health protocols during the initiative's public launching on September 19 which led to the sacking of the Manila Police District chief
  • The deportation of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton on September 13 after Duterte granted him absolute pardon in connection with the killing of transgender woman Jennifer Laude in October 2014





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