GMA RATINGS CONTINUE TO SLIDE

Manila, May 7, 2003 -- President Arroyo's net approval rating continued to 
drop, registering 16 percent in the latest Pulse Asia survey.

The survey conducted March 29 to April 12 showed Arroyo's approval rating 
was 45 percent, with 29 percent disapproving of her and 26 percent 
undecided or a net approval rating of 16 percent.

This is slightly lower than her marks last November of 46 percent approval, 
26 percent disapproval and 27 percent undecided or a net rating of 20 
percent. Last July, it was higher at 54 percent.

A Social Weather Stations survey released last month showed Arroyo's net 
satisfaction rating dropped by 20 points to negative 14.

In the Pulse Asia survey, Arroyo's improved approval rating from 
respondents in Metro Manila (from 30 to 40 percent) and the ABC Classes 
(from 37 to 48 percent) failed to cancel out the nosedive that her marks 
took in Mindanao (from 54 to 46 percent) and Class E (from 49 to 41 percent).

Her rating stayed at 53 percent in the Visayas and slightly went down in 
the case of Class D (from 46 to 45 percent). Her marks also dropped in 
Luzon (from 43 to 41 percent).

Arroyo's trust rating remains the same at 38 percent, even if her marks 
mimicked that of her approval ratings.

She got higher marks in Metro Manila (from 24 to 32 percent), Luzon (from 
32 to 33 percent), Visayas (from 49 to 51 percent), and Class ABC (from 28 
to 38 percent).

But her ratings dropped in Mindanao (from 49 to 39 percent), Class D (from 
38 to 37 percent), and Class E (from 43 to 39 percent).

During the survey period, the Iraq war, the bombing at the Sasa wharf in 
Davao, skirmishes with rebel groups, and bank robberies in Metro Manila 
were prominent in the headlines. The bombing outside the Davao City airport 
was also fresh in the readers' minds.

The Pulse Asia survey stated that "the President's withdrawal from the 2004 
presidential elections and her support for the US-led war on Iraq seem to 
have no net effect, whether positive or negative, on public opinion and 
perception on her."

The respondents showed dissatisfaction with Arroyo's economic programs 
despite showing more approval for her anti-terrorist stance.

The survey said most Filipinos (53 percent) felt that the quality of their 
lives worsened over the past year, virtually unchanged compared to the 
results of November's survey. Only 16 percent said their life improved 
while 31 percent said it was the same.
Almost four of 10 Filipinos (38 percent) said they expect their lives to 
turn worse in the coming year, a 5 percent increase compared to last year's 
figures.

Those who are optimistic that their lives would improve next year dropped 
from 27 percent in November to 20 percent in the March-April survey.

Six in 10 Filipinos (57 percent) said the lives of majority of their 
countrymen will worsen next year compared to five in 10 (47 percent) in the 
November 2002 survey.

Only 9 percent are optimistic that the quality of life of Filipinos would 
improve. Thirty-two percent believe it would remain the same.

Filipinos cited national peace (31 percent) and economic recovery (30 
percent) as the country's most urgent concerns, followed by poverty (26 
percent), low wages (26 percent), high prices (25 percent), and corruption 
in government (21 percent).

Health (49 percent) and education (47 percent) were their most pressing 
personal concerns, followed by job and income security (41 percent), and 
daily food sustenance (36 percent).

Arroyo said she was thankful that despite the difficult times, the survey 
reflected a sustained level of trust in the presidency and approval of the 
performance of our government.

She said she was "especially glad" that more Metro Manilans supported her.

"Maybe they appreciate the fact that I knowingly sacrificed my popularity 
during the Iraq war for something that I believed was right. And maybe they 
appreciated that and maybe they began to see that it was the right decision 
after all," she added, disregarding findings that her support for the US 
had no bearing on her rating. (By REGINA BENGCO, Malaya)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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