(STAR) By Helen Flores - A survey conducted by Pulse Asia last month showed that the people’s dissatisfaction with President Arroyo remained unchanged in the past three months.

Pulse Asia’s February 2009 Ulat ng Bayan Survey found that 46 percent of Filipino adults are dissatisfied with Mrs. Arroyo’s performance, the same rating the President garnered in the last survey conducted in October 2008.

The survey, which was not commissioned by any group, showed public distrust of Mrs. Arroyo was recorded at 45 percent in February 2009, an improvement from 51 percent last October.

In contrast, the survey revealed that about a quarter (26 percent) is appreciative of the President’s work while one in four (25 percent) trusts her.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents could not say if they approved or disapproved of presidential performance, while 30 percent were undecided on the matter of trusting or distrusting her.

“For the most part, these overall figures do not differ significantly from those recorded in October 2008,” Pulse Asia said.

Pulse Asia’s survey on presidential performance and trust ratings was conducted from Feb. 2 to 15, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 representative adults aged 18 and above.

The survey has a plus or minus three percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level.

Pulse Asia said disapproval and distrust are the predominant public sentiments not only at the national level but also in all geographic areas and socio-economic classes.

This is most noticeable in Metro Manila, where the President registered disapproval and distrust ratings of 62 percent and 67 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, the lowest disapproval and distrust figures (38 percent and 35 percent, respectively) were recorded in the Visayas.

Arroyo’s approval rating was 13 percent in Metro Manila and 31 percent in Mindanao.

The President’s highest trust rating (31 percent) was recorded in Mindanao while the lowest figure (11 percent) was garnered in Metro Manila, Pulse Asia said.

The present levels of indecision toward presidential performance are generally consistent with the overall figure (28 percent), with the exception of the 36 percent indecision rating recorded in the best-off Class ABC.

On the matter of public trust, Mrs. Arroyo’s indecision ratings vary from 21 percent in Metro Manila to 42 percent in the Visayas. Pulse Asia said this is one of her highest indecision ratings in the Visayas, a known power base of the President.

“Between October 2008 and March 2009, the only notable movements in presidential performance ratings are the 12-percentage point drop in approval and the 21-percentage point increase in indecision recorded in Class ABC,” Pulse Asia said.

As for presidential trust ratings, indecision levels rose by 22 percentage points in the Visayas while distrust ratings declined by double-digit margins in Mindanao (-10 percentage points) and the Visayas (-18 percentage points), it said.

“Year-on-year, there is no significant change in overall presidential performance ratings,” the pollster said.

However, the President enjoys a 10-percentage point improvement in her approval rating and a 13-percentage point drop in her disapproval rating in Mindanao, Pulse Asia said.

In Class ABC, disapproval also eased by 19 percentage points while indecision ratings increased by 18 percentage points.

The President’s overall distrust rating declined by 12 percentage points while her overall indecision rating went up by seven percentage points during this period.

In Mindanao, there is a 17-percentage point rise in Mrs. Arroyo’s trust rating and a 24-percentage point reduction in her distrust rating.

Additionally, indecision becomes more pronounced (+22 percentage points) and distrust less notable (-18 percentage points) in the Visayas. Distrust ratings also dropped in all socio-economic classes (-10 to -15 percentage points) between March 2008 and February.

Palace questions survey

Malacañang maintained that the performance of President Arroyo in the surveys was a result of perception more than any other factor.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo argued that there is no accurate method of measuring perceptions and as such, the results of the surveys, such as the latest released by Pulse Asia on the performance and trust rating of the President, could not be used as a definitive gauge by the public.

“It is very difficult to measure perceptions. There is really no measure or system that measures perception,” Fajardo said.

The President has generally been unaffected by her poor performance in the surveys and has opted to focus on her work.

Fajardo noted that Mrs. Arroyo remains focused on governance, particularly on addressing the challenges faced by the economy.

“I don’t think this should distract the President. She has been working hard. The economy remains resilient,” she said.

“The President does not work (or) perform based on popularity,” she added. With Marvin Sy

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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