President Duterte said Saturday he doesn’t care about ratings in public opinion surveys. He said he will just continue doing his job.
With the ratings recently produced by the nation’s two principal survey organizations – Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia – we can see one reason the President said he doesn’t care about ratings. SWS found a big drop in the President’s trust rating to 60 percent and his satisfaction rating to 48 percent in its September survey. A few days later, Pulse Asia reported on its survey in the same month — both trust and approval ratings of the President were a high 80 percent.
Pulse Asia sought to explain the disparity by saying the two surveys were based on interviews with two different groups of respondents as samples. If the results were that different, there must be something wrong in the sampling techniques of either or both organizations. The sample of 1,500 respondents is supposed to reflect the thinking of 100 million Filipinos. Too many city folk vs country people in a sample, for example, would skew the results.
There is also the factor of bias in the wording of the question, in the place and time of the interview, in the physical appearance of the interviewer. For example, did he look like a government employee? Or perhaps a policeman?
It is unfortunate that there was so much disparity in the findings of the two survey organizations. Differences of a few points can be easily explained but there is just too much distance between SWS’s 48 percent and Pulse Asia’s 80 percent satisfaction ratings.
We hope the survey organizations will be able to resolve their differences and restore whatever loss of confidence may have resulted from their contrasting survey findings. In between elections, surveys are still the best way the people can tell their officials how they feel and think and what they want.
For President Duterte, his immediate reaction was that he would ignore the surveys and just concentrate on doing his job as president of the country. He has already begun the job of ending the drug menace and corruption in the government. He will soon begin a massive infrastructure program that will push national economic development.
He will be seeing and serving the nation as a whole but he should also make a special effort to see the needs of the people – especially the poor ones — who make up the nation.