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Trust in the US versus China

/ 12:08 AM October 22, 2016

The very high trust of Filipinos in the United States has always been taken for granted.  In the latest Social Weather Stations survey of Sept. 23-27, 2016, 76 percent said they had much trust in the United States, 11 percent said they had little trust, and 13 percent were undecided, for a net trust rating of +66, correctly rounded, which SWS rates as Very Good (net trust of +50 to +69).

In 53 SWS surveys over 1994-2016, the trust of Filipinos in the United States has been Excellent 17 times, Very Good (net trust +50 to +69) also 17 times, Good (net trust +30 to +49) 16 times, and Moderate (net trust +11 to +29) 3 times. Its low point was +18 (May 2005); its peak was +82 (December 2013). The United States has been, by far, the most trusted of all countries.

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In September 2016, only 22 percent had much trust in China, whereas 66 percent had little trust, for a net trust rating of -33, correctly rounded, which SWS calls Bad (net trust of -30 to -49).  In 40 SWS surveys over 1994-2016, the trust in China has been Bad 13 times, Poor (net trust -11 to -29) 17 times, Neutral (net trust -9 to +9) 6 times, and Moderate 4 times.  Its low point was -46 (September 2015); its peak was +17 (June 2010).  China has been, by far, the country least trusted by Filipinos.

The Social Weather Surveys rate public trust in countries very often. It did it in 22 of the 24 rounds during the last administration, always including both the United States and China. The September 2016 survey also had Australia (+47), Japan (+34), Norway (+16), the Netherlands (+14), and Taiwan (+3). Those of Australia and Japan are Good, those of Norway and the Netherlands are Moderate, and that of Taiwan is Neutral.

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The trust rating of Taiwan is only its second in the SWS archive, after an equally Neutral -7 in September 2013.  Neutral trust is a very common attitude of Filipinos toward our neighbors, such as the Asean countries. It is neither favorable nor unfavorable.

Much higher trust in Taiwan than in China. What interests me about the trust rating of Taiwan is the fact that the Taiwanese are also ethnically Chinese.  As far as Filipinos can tell, the two peoples are both “Intsik.”  And yet, our trust in Taiwan is very much higher than in China.

From this, it seems to me that the low Filipino trust in China—very much lower than our trust in Taiwan—is not due to racial or cultural animosity.  The Philippines also has a dispute with Taiwan over maritime territory, but the actions of Taiwan clearly have not stirred as much resentment among Filipinos as have the actions of China in the West Philippine Sea.

A crack in the pattern in Mindanao? The demographics of the trust ratings reveal that Mindanao deviates from the national pattern.  This is interesting because the satisfaction and trust ratings of President Duterte in September 2016 were very much higher in Mindanao than in other areas of the Philippines.

By area, the latest net trust ratings of Filipinos for the United States are +63 in the National Capital Region, +72 in the Balance of Luzon, +67 in the Visayas, and +54 in Mindanao.  The trust in the Balance of Luzon is Excellent.  All the others have Very Good trust, but that of Mindanao is the lowest of all.

On the other hand, the latest net trust ratings of Filipinos for China are -41 in the National Capital Region, -49 in the Balance of Luzon, -34 in the Visayas, and +4 in Mindanao.  The Neutral rating in Mindanao is quite different from the Bad ratings elsewhere.  Will this crack in the pattern spread?

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TAGS: China, Social Weather Stations, survey, trust in US vs China survey, US
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