MANILA, April 17, 2004
Public satisfaction with President Arroyo’s performance soared during the past months, according to an independent noncommissioned survey.

Fifty-five percent of 1,400 registered voters surveyed nationwide by respected pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) said they were satisfied with Mrs. Arroyo’s performance while 25 percent of respondents said they were not.

This gave Mrs. Arroyo a net satisfaction rating of 30 percent, a dramatic increase from negative three percent in November last year, the last time the SWS took a similar opinion poll.

The latest poll, taken March 21 to 29, had an error margin of plus or minus three percentage points and a 95 percent confidence level.

The latest survey is part of the same one that found Mrs. Arroyo and opposition candidate Fernando Poe Jr. in a statistical tie, with 32 percent saying they would vote for Poe and 31.4 percent for Mrs. Arroyo.

Public satisfaction with the performance of the government as a whole also significantly went up. Forty-six percent of Filipinos gave the government the thumbs up while 31 percent felt otherwise, for a net satisfaction rating of 14 percent — up from three percent in November.

Public satisfaction with the government’s preparations for holding "free and peaceful elections" slightly more than doubled, from a net rating of 16 percent in November to 35 percent.

On the issue of helping the poor — a key election issue in this poverty-stricken country — the government drew a net satisfaction of 15 percent as opposed to just one percent four months ago.

However, satisfaction with the Arroyo administration’s campaign against terrorism dropped from 14 percent in November to nine percent.

Ratings of the administration’s efforts to eradicate graft and corruption improved but remained in the red, from negative 22 percent in November to negative 11 percent.

The same was true for the government’s efforts to fight inflation: negative 22 percent from negative 28 percent.

Net public satisfaction on efforts to forge peace with communist rebels slid to eight percent from 23 percent in June, the last time the SWS took a poll on that issue.

Satisfaction with the performance of Mrs. Arroyo’s Cabinet, both chambers of Congress and the Supreme Court went up significantly.

Mrs. Arroyo’s Cabinet drew a net satisfaction rating of 12 percent, up from negative seven percent in November; the Senate, from seven percent to 25 percent; the House of Representatives, from three percent to 17 percent; and the Supreme Court, from eight percent to 23 percent.

Mrs. Arroyo has been touting her performance in the bitter election campaign.

Poe had been widely expected to win the May presidential race because of his iconic movie star popularity despite his lack of experience in holding public office.

But Arroyo campaign officials and her allies believe the President will eventually overtake Poe come election day and win by a slim lead, from five to ten percent of the vote.

In a survey by another pollster, Pulse Asia Inc., 34 percent of respondents would vote for Mrs. Arroyo as against 31 percent for Poe.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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