Monday, September 24, 2018
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Social Climate

The two-year mark

By tradition, the first release from a new SWS round is about public satisfaction with the President. Last Tuesday’s “Second Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey: President Duterte’s net satisfaction rating falls to ‘Good’ +45” (, 7/10/18), was conducted on June 27-30, 2018.

(Note: the interviews were done after Mr. Duterte’s June 22 speech when he said “God is stupid,” but it was too late to add new survey questions on this account.)


The number +45 is gross satisfaction of 65 percent minus gross dissatisfaction of 20 percent.  It falls in the range for the SWS term “Good,” which is from +30 to +49.

A net rating of Good, or better, is critical since it is how SWS defines a honeymoon period. The period also includes Very Good (+50 to +69) and Excellent (+70 and up). Thus, Mr. Duterte’s honeymoon persists, and at the two-year mark has exceeded the honeymoons of Erap Estrada (1 year) and Gloria Arroyo (none).

But his honeymoon is not special, since the honeymoons of Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos and Noynoy Aquino lasted 2-1/2 years, 2-1/4 years, and 3-1/2 years, respectively.

The +45 is a new personal low for Mr. Duterte, his previous low being +48, in 2017Q3. The drop in his rating might have disappointed some of his partisans, in view of the Inquirer’s editorial yesterday, “Bad numbers.”

But SWS does not consider +45 a bad number. We use “Bad” for the range of -30 to -49. This makes Bad symmetric to Good. Similarly, Very Good means from +50 to +69, and Very Bad means from -50 to -69.

President Duterte had a Very Good +56 one quarter ago, in March 2018. His personal high was a Very Good +66 in June 2017, almost up to the +67s of both Noynoy Aquino (August 2012) and Estrada (March 1999), but short of the +69 of Ramos (July 1993).

Cory Aquino was our only president who ever rated as Excellent (+72 in October 1986), in the SWS survey history.

Innards of a survey rating. The SWS performance rating question offers respondents five answer-choices: Very Satisfied (VS), Somewhat Satisfied (SS), Undecided (U), Somewhat Dissatisfied (SD), and Very Dissatisfied (VD).  This is called a 5-point scale, with two favorable options, two unfavorable ones, and a middle or neutral point.

The grouping of the two favorable options into Satisfied (S) and the two unfavorable ones into Dissatisfied (D) is a simplification. All five options, as well as stray responses like “don’t know” and “refused to answer,” are preserved in the survey archive to allow further study.


Specifically, the latest 65 percent satisfied (S) with Mr. Duterte consists of 31.7 percent VS and 33.6 percent SS, while the 20 percent dissatisfied (D) consists of 11.4 percent SD and 8.4 percent VD. The Undecided (U) are 15 percent. These are all proportions of the sample.

The definition of NS, net satisfaction, as NS = S – D is a second simplification. Note carefully that NS is a difference between two gross proportions, and not a proportion in itself. It ranges from -100 to +100, not from 0 to 100.

The survey error margin applies to any gross proportion obtainable from the survey item. It is applicable to S and D separately, as well as to SS, VS, U, SD and VD separately. But it is not directly applicable to NS.

From March to June, S fell significantly from 70 to 65, and D rose significantly from 14 to 20.   Hence, the fall in NS from +56 to +45 was also significant.  These are national changes, traceable to significant changes in the National Capital Region and the Visayas.


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TAGS: Duterte, public satisfaction, survey, SWS
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