Binay rating hits new low, but rivals catching up
The last-quarter 2014 survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) shows that the public satisfaction rating of Vice President Jejomar Binay has plunged to a new record low, with 65 percent of those polled saying they were satisfied with his performance and 20 percent saying they were dissatisfied. Under the norms designed by the SWS, it considers the result a “good” 44 percent net satisfaction rating (satisfied minus dissatisfied, rounded).
The survey was conducted from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 last year, and the results were first published in the newspaper BusinessWorld. The ominous profile of the survey is that Binay’s net satisfaction has been falling since September 2010. How does this erosion translate into his prospects of winning the 2016 presidential election in which he had early on declared he would take part?
Prior to the survey, Binay’s lowest net rating was a “very good” 52 percent (70 percent satisfied minus 17 percent dissatisfied), posted in the third quarter of 2014. In 18 surveys since September 2010, Binay had eight “excellent,” nine “very good,” and one “good” ratings. His best net rating was 76 percent, logged in June 2013 and August 2013.
Under the SWS rating system, a rating of 70 and above is considered “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,” and -70 and below “execrable.”
With the presidential election in May 2016 only 15 months away, the profile of survey results over the past four years presents a nightmarish scenario to Binay’s political strategists and offers them little ground to claim that, “clearly, Binay has still the continued trust and full support of the Filipino people despite the intensified campaign of lies and pattern of deceit waged by his political detractors in the Senate to discredit his accomplishments and track record as a proven public servant.”
The survey results followed a withering barrage of corruption charges leveled at Binay in the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee inquiry into alleged overpricing when he was mayor of Makati City and unexplained wealth. It seems clear that the hearings and the two plunder complaints lodged against him in the Office of the Ombudsman have wrought havoc on his performance ratings. What’s not clear is whether the government can mount a criminal case of plunder in the courts against Binay, who has denied wrongdoing and who claims that all the allegations against him were made by former officials of Makati in order to scuttle his bid for the presidency in 2016.
Binay’s supporters are confronted by the question of whether the SWS survey foreshadowed an irreversible free fall of his satisfaction rating.
According to SWS president Mahar Mangahas, although Binay’s net satisfaction rating in the latest survey is lower than the +52 percent reported in September, the rating in the November-December survey is still “good,” noting that the president and vice president have a longer “honeymoon period” compared to other top leaders. Explaining this phenomenon to the ANC, Mangahas said that “for all officials there is a honeymoon, and then it tends to go down” at the beginning. Thus, the honeymoon period for Binay, just like for the President, “did not fall so quickly since this is already the fifth year.”
Mangahas explained that Binay’s ratings should not be compared to other officials because they are not competing for the presidency in 2016. “Unless that happens, it is not relevant,” he said.
According to the SWS survey, Binay still has better numbers than Senate President Franklin Drilon, whose rating fell to +28 from +32, while Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s slightly improved to +11 from +10.
The SWS survey also showed that while Binay’s net satisfaction rating was falling, President Aquino has recovered his net rating from 34 percent in the third quarter of 2014 to 39 percent in the fourth quarter. But the survey also showed the public satisfaction ratings of key state institutions falling, with the Cabinet suffering the biggest drop, from +18 to +9. The Cabinet’s net satisfaction rating dropped from “moderate” to “neutral,” as it decreased 9 points from 18 (43 percent satisfied minus 26 percent dissatisfied in December). However, Mangahas indicated that corruption allegations accounted for the fall of Binay’s ratings.
That the Cabinet’s rating took a dive sends a warning that its performance is far from satisfactory and its rating cannot take a free lift on the back of the President’s marginally improved rating.
It is still hard to explain why, despite the corruption allegations leveled at Binay, he still has maintained a basic constituency of satisfaction in the surveys. This means that the administration cannot be complacent in believing that the Vice President has been demolished by the campaign to reduce him to a spent force in the 2016 election.
For example, according to a previous SWS survey, Binay was found to be one of the “three best leaders” to succeed Mr. Aquino in 2016, with 37 percent of respondents picking him as the next president. He topped that survey, with Sen. Grace Poe and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas trailing behind him.
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