Social Climate

Baseline trust ratings of Duterte and Robredo

In the most recent SWS survey on trust in political personalities, done on May 1-3, 2016, just before the elections, 54 percent of Filipino adults had much trust, and 28 percent of them had little trust, in presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. (The remainder from 100 percent are those not sure if they trust or distrust the person. This answer is offered up-front in the survey question.)

Subtracting the distrust from the trust gives a net trust rating of +26, which SWS calls Moderate (from +10 to +29).  This is Duterte’s baseline trust rating, just before being elected.


In the same survey, 61 percent had much trust, and 17 percent had little trust, in vice-presidential (VP) candidate Leonor Robredo. This puts Robredo’s baseline net trust rating at +45 (correctly rounded; such discrepancies in this column are simple rounding errors), which SWS calls Good (from +30 to +49).

The convincing victory of Duterte and the very close race for vice president were both anticipated by the voting intentions found by the survey. The survey questions for trusting and for voting for public figures are different.  Trusting, unlike voting, does not involve making a preference over other personalities.


The history of winning candidates’ trust ratings. In survey history, Duterte is the only presidential candidate with a merely Moderate trust rating at election time. Six years ago, in the SWS survey of April 16-19, 2010, those with much trust in presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino were 74 percent, while those with little trust in him were 11 percent, for a net trust rating of +64, or Very Good (from +50 to +69).  It is the highest preelection trust in a presidential candidate in the SWS archive.

Here are findings from earlier presidential election seasons: on April 10-17, 2004, 56 percent had much trust, and 23 percent had little trust, in Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, for a Good net rating of +34; on April 17-23, 1998, 56 percent had much trust, and 21 percent had little trust, in Joseph Estrada, for a Good net rating of +35; on March 25-April 10, 1992, 49 percent had much trust, and 17 percent had little trust, in Fidel Ramos, for a Good net rating of +32.

The trust rating of Robredo, on the other hand, is in the middle of the ratings of the winning VP candidates in the past four elections. In April 2010, 66 percent had much trust, and 15 percent had little trust, in Jejomar Binay, for a Very Good net +51.  In April 2004, 64 percent had much trust, and 17 percent had little trust, in Noli de Castro, for a Good net +48, which is close to that of Robredo now.

In April 1998, 70 percent had much trust, and 11 percent had little trust, in VP candidate Gloria Arroyo, who has the record high Very Good +60.  In March-April 1992, 41 percent had much trust, and 26 had little trust, in VP candidate Joseph Estrada, for a Moderate +15.  In 1992, Estrada, like Duterte now, won his VP election easily; his trust rating then was also similar to that of Duterte now.

To me, it is valid to compare public personalities in terms of how many people find them generally trustworthy.  It is just a fact that, in early May, there were more people trusting Robredo than trusting Duterte. What should not be done is to compare the forthcoming survey ratings of Duterte’s performance as president with those of Robredo’s performance as vice president.

The demographics of trust in Duterte and Robredo. SWS’ report on trust ratings in the May 1-3 survey, summarized in BusinessWorld (6/10/16), details the trust ratings of Duterte and Robredo according to demographic factors.

Duterte’s trust rating is Moderate in the nation as a whole, and also Moderate in Metro Manila (+21) and the Visayas (+19).  But it is Very Good in Mindanao (+67), and only Neutral in the Balance of Luzon (+9).


Robredo’s trust rating is Good in the nation as a whole, as well as in Metro Manila (+21), the Balance of Luzon (+46) and Mindanao (+41).  But it is Very Good in the Visayas (+52).

Trust according to sex. Duterte is more trusted by men (+29) than women (+22). Robredo is more trusted by women (+48) than men (+41).

Trust according to age. Older people trust Duterte less: His net trust declines from +42 in ages 18-24 to +11 in ages 55 and up.  All age groups trust Robredo highly: Her net trust is +43 in ages 18-24 and also 25-34, +44 in ages 35-44, +47 in ages 45-54, and +45 in ages 55 and up.

Trust according to education. Duterte’s trust ratings rise with education—Moderate for up to elementary (+18), up to high school (+16), and some college (+28); and Good for college graduates (+44).  Robredo’s trust ratings are Good at all levels: up to elementary (+38), up to high school (+42), some college (+47), and college graduates (+48).

Trust according to religion. Catholics have more trust in Robredo (+46) than in Duterte (+23).  So do Other Christians: Robredo, +42; Duterte, +28.  But Muslims have much more trust in Duterte (+70) than in Robredo (+40).

What I find most interesting is the survey finding that Iglesia ni Cristos (INCs), as of May 1-3, 2016, trusted Duterte (+13) and Robredo (+16) equally.  The most trusted presidential candidate of rank-and-file INCs was actually Grace Poe (+63). Their most trusted VP candidate was already Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (+55).

* * *

The trust ratings by religion were specially tabulated by Ms Josefina Mar of SWS. Contact

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TAGS: leni robredo, Rodrigo Duterte, survey, SWS survey, Trust Rating
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