[Photo at left - President Arroyo greets Speaker Jose de Venecia prior to their meeting at Malacañang the other day.]

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 25, 2007 (STAR) By Helen Flores - More Filipinos are still not satisfied with President Arroyo, as shown in the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) that gave her a net satisfaction rating of -11, the lowest so far this year.

The Third Quarter of 2007 Social Weather Survey showed 34 percent of respondents satisfied and 45 percent dissatisfied with the President’s performance.

The survey was conducted from Sept. 2 to 5, using personal interviews with 1,200 adults divided into random samples of 300 each in Metro Manila, the balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The SWS said the survey result was lower than Mrs. Arroyo’s -4 rating in February and -3 rating in June this year.

In the June 2007 survey, 39 percent of respondents were satisfied and 42 percent were dissatisfied with the President for a -3 rating, the SWS said.

“Thus net satisfaction with the President dropped back to the negative level for the second to fourth quarters of 2006, after being roughly neutral in the first and second quarters of 2007,” the survey firm said.

The new survey also found 20 percent with “much trust,” and 58 percent “with little trust,” in First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, for a net trust rating of -37 (correctly rounded).

In 20 national SWS surveys from January 2001 to September 2007, the average proportion of people that trust Mr. Arroyo was only 20 percent, whereas the average proportion that do not trust him was 51 percent, giving him an average net trust rating of -31 in the period, the pollster said.

Distrust in Mr. Arroyo was already dominant even in the times when most people were satisfied with the President, it added.

The SWS also revealed comparison of public trust in Mr. Arroyo against public satisfaction in Mrs. Arroyo, which showed that he is not trusted even by those who are satisfied with the performance of the President.

Distrust in Mr. Arroyo is 49 percent among those satisfied with the performance of Mrs. Arroyo, but the rating rises to 67 percent among those dissatisfied with her.

The SWS said the positive net trust in Mr. Arroyo occurred only in January 2001; it has been negative from September 2001 to the present.

The SWS said movement of the President’s net rating from net -3 to -11 was due to the loss of support from the Visayas and Mindanao, and worsening dissatisfaction in Luzon outside Metro Manila.

Satisfaction with Mrs. Arroyo returned to neutral in the Visayas, at net +1 (40 percent satisfied, 38 percent dissatisfied, correctly rounded), after a positive net +10 (48 percent satisfied, 38 percent dissatisfied) last June, it said.

It also declined in Mindanao, at net -1 in the latest survey (38 percent satisfied, 38 percent dissatisfied,) compared to net +8 (44 percent satisfied, 36 percent dissatisfied) previously.

It worsened in Luzon with -18 now (32 percent satisfied, 50 percent dissatisfied) compared to -6 (37 percent minus 43 percent) in June.

Satisfaction with Mrs. Arroyo in Metro Manila recovered a bit to -24 in September (28 percent satisfied, 52 percent dissatisfied) from -31 (26 percent minus 57 percent) in June.

Dissatisfaction with the President worsened in urban areas. The rural areas turned from mainly satisfied to merely neutral, the SWS said.

Urban satisfaction with Mrs. Arroyo was 32 percent in September, down from 36 percent in June, while dissatisfaction rose to 50 percent from 48 percent, worsening her urban net rating to -18 in September from -12 in June.

Rural satisfaction declined to 36 percent from 44 percent, while dissatisfaction rose to 39 percent from 36 percent, bringing her rural net rating down to neutral -3, from +8 earlier.

Satisfaction with Mrs. Arroyo turned negative among class E, at -13 (33 percent satisfied, 46 percent dissatisfied) in September, from neutral (40 percent satisfied, 40 percent dissatisfied) in June.

It worsened among the class D or masa, at -12 in September (34 percent satisfied, 46 percent dissatisfied) compared to -5 (39 percent minus 44 percent) in June.

It slightly improved among the middle-to-upper classes ABC, with +8 (46 percent satisfied, 37 percent dissatisfied, correctly rounded) compared to +4 (41 percent satisfied, 37 percent dissatisfied) in June.

“The quarterly Social Weather Surveys on public satisfaction with the President and trust in prominent personalities, such as the First Gentleman, are not commissioned, but are done on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service, with first printing rights assigned to BusinessWorld,” the survey firm said.

Malacañang remained unperturbed over the low satisfaction rating of President Arroyo, saying that the only numbers she is concerned with are those of the economy.

The President’s spokesman Ignacio Bunye said the President remains focused on governance, sustaining the growth of the economy and bringing its benefits to the people.

“Survey numbers are not as important as economic numbers. The President’s focus is on the economy, pursue the benefits of our improving economy so that they can be felt by the people,” Bunye said.

Presidential Management Staff head Cerge Remonde said that the popularity numbers are not the priority of the President and her administration but admitted that it has an impact on the members of the Cabinet.

He reiterated that the President’s concern is on governance and it is up to the Cabinet members to work on improving the survey ratings.

“It’s a challenge for us, the Cabinet, to work harder and to always do our best,” Remonde said.

“The President always said that her concern is governance. I’m not saying that we are not concerned about popularity but this is not our priority,” he added.

Remonde argued that the administration is confident that it would only be a matter of time when the people start to appreciate what the President has been doing.

“Controversies come and go but the President is not bothered,” Remonde said.

He said that the morale of the Cabinet members is high even though various controversies continue to hound the administration.

“The Cabinet’s morale is very high. We support one another and we are all behind the President and we are not affected by this controversy,” he said. – With Marvin Sy

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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