Trust in Duterte erodes among the poor

Carmela Fonbuena
Trust in Duterte erodes among the poor


It is not, interestingly, the case among the middle class and the rich, among whom the President's trust ratings are statistically unchanged since July 2016

MANILA, Philippines – Latest numbers from Pulse Asia show that President Rodrigo Duterte is losing the trust of a growing number of poor Filipinos.

It is not, interestingly, the case among the rich.

Duterte’s overall trust ratings remain high at 76% in the survey conducted in March 2017, but it was a 7-point decline from his 83% in December 2016. It’s outside the survey’s error margin.

The numbers show that Filipinos who belong to socio-economic class D – the poor who make up the bulk of the country’s 100 million people – pulled down Duterte’s numbers. It mirrors the national average, dropping from 83% in December 2016 to 76% in March 2017. 

His decline among the poor was captured in the survey despite its small sample of 1,200 respondents because the subgrouping represents a big percentage of the population and thus has a low error margin. This is the chunk of the population that generally decides elections. 

The disillusioned poor appeared to have moved to the “undecided” bloc, which registered a 7-point increase during the same period, from 12% to 19%.

In comparison, Duterte’s numbers among the rich to middle class (ABC) increased 12 percentage points from 72% in December 2016 to 84% in March 2017. The error margin for the ABC class is higher compared to class D, however, meaning the numbers are statistically unchanged.

Duterte’s slow decline

Duterte’s numbers since July 2016 showed a slow decline since he assumed the presidency, both in his trust ratings and approval numbers. But it is expected, and the same trend was seen in the numbers of previous presidents. 

His nationwide trust ratings were at a high of 91% in the July survey conducted a few days after he assumed office. It has dropped 15 percentage points since. 

His nationwide performance rating was 86% in September when the poll was first conducted. It has dropped 8 points since. 

The movements are notable among the poor (D) and the poorest (E). His trust ratings among poor Filipinos declined 16 points since July 2016 while his approval ratings declined 8 points since September 2016. They are outside the error margins. 

The surveys also captured the decline in his numbers among poorest Filipinos despite the small sample. His trust ratings dropped from 92% in July 2016 to 74% in March 2017. These are outside the error margin. The drop in his approval rating among the poorest is within the error margin, however, and thus unreliable.

Still, Duterte’s numbers are high especially for a president who has faced major controversies at the start of his term, particularly his war against illegal drugs. 

His numbers among the rich to middle class registered declines, too, but are considered statisticaly unchanged. His trust ratings dropped from 89% in July 2016 to 84% in March. It’s the same with his performance ratings, from 85% in September 2016 to 84% in March 2017. –

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