Suan Dusit pollsters visit SWS
This week, SWS had the pleasure of hosting several visitors from the Suan Dusit Poll (SDP) of Thailand, led by Nattapon Yamchim, its president; Nongluck Chotevithayathanin, research and information director; and Pongpun Jardgon, data processing head. The SDP, one of the three main polling entities of Thailand, is part of Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, a state institution. The other two entities are the NIDA Poll of the state’s National Institute for Development Administration and the ABAC Poll of Assumption University of Thailand (private; ABAC stands for Assumption Business Administration College).
Last May 20, martial law was declared in Thailand, but it was not a coup, said the army. The Bangkok Post of May 21 reported that the SDP, polling 1,264 people nationwide on May 20-21, found 76 percent agreeing with the imposition of martial law, versus 12 percent saying that the violence was not enough to justify it, and the rest indifferent. Then, on May 22, the military launched an actual coup, establishing a junta called the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), under the leadership of Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha.
SDP Poll, June 10-14. Our visitors said that opinion polling is not being censored, but they are “careful” with their work. The SDP polls are, so far, very favorable to the NCPO. They showed us a summary of their national poll of June 10-14 (sample size 1,634), “Happiness that people get from the National Council for Peace and Order,” with the following percentages affirming each “happiness”: “Stop the gathering of people and make the country peaceful,” 93; “Return to normal so people can study and work,” 87; “Slow down the rise of prices of gas and oil,” 86; “Pay the rice farmers their dues from the scheme,” 84; “Provide economic solutions to stimulate trade and investment,” 80; “Eliminate corruption by serious investigation and concrete measures,” 77; “Announce serious commitment to the work of reform,” 74; “Assure life safety with military responsibility,” 73; “Suppress crime, drug and weapons smuggling,” 72; and “Give presents to the people with free watching of World Cup and Naresuan movies,” 71.
NIDA Poll, June 20-21. Last Sunday, the NIDA Poll reported its survey of 1,259 people as to who should be prime minister (englishnews.thaipbs.or.ph). The top scorer was General Prayuth, 41.3 percent. The second most cited answer was “no one,” 10.3 percent. Other percentages were: Anand Panyarachun, former prime minister, 8.5; Surin Pitsuwan, former Asean secretary-general, 2.4; Pridiyathorn Devakula, former Bank of Thailand governor, 1.4; Somkid Jalusripitak, former deputy prime minister, 1.2; 13 others (including Thaksin Shinawatra and Yingluck Shinawatra), 5.2 combined; and “any elected official who is capable of solving problems,” 3.1. I guess the balance of over 25 percent did not answer.
SDP Poll, June 17-21. Last Monday, the Bangkok Post ran the item, “NCPO wins early post-coup praise,” based on a more recent SDP poll, on a sample of 1,614. In it, 73 percent said “the country has a better atmosphere and is more peaceful,” 70 percent said “several core problems have been solved including rice scheme payments,” and 65 percent “want the NCPO to continue governing the country until everything is properly in place.” These seem to be separate questionnaire items.
As to problems, 38 percent cited “resistance from some groups and restriction of public freedoms,” 32 said the “junta lacks expertise in national administration and offers too many populist measures,” and 30 percent cited “rumors which are tarnishing the NCPO’s image.” Since the numbers add up to 100, most likely these are alternative answers to a single question.
On Wednesday, the Bangkok Post reminded readers, in its editorial:
A month after Yingluck Shinawatra was appointed prime minister in 2011, polls gave her a 73% approval rating. The 2006 coup-maker, Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin, scored 84% approval in the first Suan Dusit poll.
Four weeks after seizing power, the NCPO is on the honeymoon cruise Thai citizens appear intent on awarding every new regime, of every type. This is the period when one hears, “Give them a chance”. (www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/417210/ncpo-must-level-with-us)
Political honeymoons can vary. Here, that of the Aquino administration is setting new records. As for Thailand, watch the opinion polls.
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No Supreme Court leak to SWS (http://www.sws.org.ph/pr20140625.htm). This SWS release ridicules the article by Rigoberto Tiglao, “Draft Supreme Court decision leaked to SWS head” (Manila Times, 6/22/2014), that falsely claims that I have seen a draft decision on the still-pending Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) case. I have never seen any such draft. Tiglao based his article solely on my chat in a private e-group of my schoolmates, where I had carelessly quoted a line of the 2013 Supreme Court ruling on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) case, without noticing that the chatting was about DAP, not PDAF. Once I realized my mistake, I corrected myself to the e-group.
Before writing his article, Tiglao (somehow privy to the chats) e-mailed me about the matter; I told him about my mistake, and my correction. Nevertheless, Tiglao insists that a DAP draft ruling was leaked to me, fantasizes that SWS will do a confidential poll on it, and even has petty ad hominems from anonymous sources. Do read his article and the entire SWS response, and see if you agree with me that reading him in the future will not be worth your time.
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