Trust ratings drop
WHAT goes up, must come down. That’s from the song “Spinning Wheels” by the group Blood Sweat and Tears. That can now be applied to President Rodrigo Duterte’s satisfaction and trust ratings. For a while, many thought he was a Teflon president, what with his popularity not waning despite the cursing in his speeches, the rising body count in his war against drugs and the impunity in his rule.
After a little more than a year in office, the downward slide has started. A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted last month and released Sunday showed the president’s net satisfaction rating drop by 18 points to + 48 (for Duterte supporters, SWS still classified it as “good”) while his net trust rating fell by 15 points to + 60 (categorized as still “very good”).
I actually thought the drop wouldn’t come this early despite the issues that hounded the Duterte administration one after the other last month, like the killing of minors Kian de los Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman; the Senate probe into the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu that linked the so-called Davao Group and dragged presidential son Paolo Duterte to the smuggling case; the Ombudsman probe into the president’s alleged bank accounts; etc.
But Duterte is not a Teflon president, after all, and by extension the 16 million who voted for him in last year’s presidential elections are not really all “tards.” The steepness of the ratings drop and its timing showed that. Some of the Duterte supporters who were once vociferous in their defense of their idol did open up to the issues hounding the Duterte admin and weighed these independently.
Malacañang greeted the survey results with a certain degree of fatalism, saying that the drop was inevitable. Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said it was “expected given the fact that people measure their expectations usually after the honeymoon period, or after a year in office.” Abella’s nice phrase, that the “love is still there” for the president, was shared by his camp.
And there are Duterte supporters who consider this development a mere blip in the radar. Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, perhaps the most-maligned Malacañang occupant post-Ferdinand Marcos, said of the survey results: “It reflects the pulse of the people at a particular time. A drop though does not mean erosion of public support but merely a sentiment on particular polici es.”
I agree. So we now have to see if the Duterte administration can recover from this one or if the downward slide will continue, like what an official of one of the committees of the Catholic Bishops’Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said. “It will continue to go down unless he (Duterte) shapes up, especially on issues of corruption, extra-judicial killings, police impunity, and others.”
The issues that hounded the Duterte administration last month are fairly clear. But is the president prepared to address the issues to the satisfaction of those who are now getting disillusioned by his refusal to address them headon? Here’s one truth: If you want different results from what you are getting, then try different approaches.