88% of Filipinos approve of Duterte before 'God is stupid' remark

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte surpassed his previous record-high approval rating and recorded in June 2018 his highest approval rating at 88%, based on a Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated survey held days before his much-criticized "God is stupid" remark.

Pulse Asia's June 2018 Ulat ng Bayan national survey, released on Friday, July 13, showed Duterte with an approval rating of 88% – 2 percentage points higher than his previous highest-ever approval rating of 86% in September 2016, when he was just 3 months into his presidency.

It also showed an 8% increase over his 80% approval rating in March 2018. Before this jump, he maintained an 80% approval rating from September 2017 to March 2018.

Earlier this week, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) released the results of its second quarter poll on public satisfaction with Duterte, which showed his net satisfaction rating falling to a new low of +45. Unlike the Pulse Asia survey, the SWS survey period covered the days when Duterte made his remark on God and the public backlash that followed; it was conducted from June 27-30.

Among socio-economic classes, approval for Duterte was highest among Class E (91%), followed by Class D (87%), and Classes ABC (84%). Across geographic areas, approval was overwhelming in Mindanao at 99%, followed by the Visayas (89%), Luzon and Metro Manila at 83% each. The highest improvement was recorded in the National Capital Region compared to March 2018, showing a 27-percentage point increase in ratings.

The Pulse Asia survey was conducted ahead of the SWS survey among 1,800 respondents from June 15 to 21, but results were released only on Friday. The survey period ended just a day before Duterte's infamous remark that sparked public outrage in the predominantly Catholic Philippines, and strong condemnation from various religious groups and leaders

Trust ratings

In June 2018, the President also recorded high trust ratings at 87%, with only 11% of respondents saying they were undecided. He registered highest trust ratings in Mindanao (94%), followed by the Visayas (92%), Luzon (84%), and the National Capital Region (79%).

Among Class E, Duterte got an 88% trust rating, 87% among Class D, and 82% among Classes ABC.

Improvements in his trust ratings occurred the most in Metro Manila between March and June 2018, showing an increase of 23 percentage points, followed by the Visayas (10%), balance of Luzon (6%), and Mindanao (4%). It was also in Metro Manila that he was able to sway the most number of undecided from March to June 2018.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace is grateful for the people's "continuing vote of confidence" in the President, who remains "the most approved and most trusted top national official today with 88% approval and 87% trust, respectively."

According to the statement, "The President views these latest survey results with all humility; however, he is not leading the country for the sake of high or good ratings. The Chief Executive is simply fulfilling his campaign promises with the best interest of Filipinos in mind."

The President, according to Roque, is "working double time to rid society of drugs, criminality and corruption to achieve his goal of bringing [a] comfortable life for all."

The major news before and during the survey period included the arrest of thousands of loiterers or “tambays” in Metro Manila, based on the President’s order; and the killing of Fr Richmond Nilo in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija and Mayor Ronald Tirol of Buenavista, Bohol; the Supreme Court 8-6 vote affirming its earlier ruling that led to the ouster of then chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno; the President's official visit to South Korea that affirmed the "special friendship" between their countries and saw him kissing on the lips an overseas Filipino worker; and the signing into law of the Mental Health Act, among others.

The Pulse Asia nationwide survey has a ± 2% error margin at the 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for each of the geographic areas covered in the survey have a ± 6% error margin, also at 95% confidence level for Metro Manila, ±3% for the rest of Luzon, and ±5% for each of the Visayas and Mindanao. – Rappler.com