President’s popularity-A A +A
Saturday, April 28, 2012
PALACE propagandists tried to sound positive but there was clearly no joy in the brief statement, which they e-mailed to me last Friday, on the results of the latest Social Weather Stations survey on their boss, PNoy.
“We recognize that the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey on satisfaction with the Aquino administration continued appreciation of the initiatives of your government,” the statement of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson read.
“We have always maintained that surveys are a reflection of the national mood and are valuable tools in feeling the pulse of our people at a given time. With 64 percent of respondents remaining satisfied with the Aquino administration, we take this as strong support for the straight path that we have consistently pursued.”
There is reason for the glumness. While 64 percent of the 1,200 respondents who were polled from March 10 to 13 did express satisfaction with the President’s performance, 18 percent said they were dissatisfied, resulting in a mere 46 percent performance rating, a big dip of 10 percentage points from the previous survey. From “very good,” PNoy’s grade as a leader has dropped to plain “good.”
In other words, the pulse of the people was not favorable at that time; the national mood was not generous to the President. While governance is not a popularity contest, the results should be worrying to the Palace because any substantial erosion in the President’s popularity could embolden those with mischief in their minds.
The President knows who they are. These are the people who have been, or stand to be, hurt by his administration’s relentless pursuit of his straight path agenda. These are people who once wielded immense power and influence in the country. And they have loyal supporters, including those who honestly believe that their former bosses have been wronged and those who just long for the days of power, office and privilege.
They are lying low, have been kept low by the popularity that PNoy enjoys. They know that any attempt to destabilize his government will not succeed if he remains popular with the people. They read history. They have seen what happened to Ferdinand Marcos and Erap Estrada immediately prior to their ouster.
And they are waiting. They will know when the conditions are ripe for them to strike, which is when our minds will have become receptive to any claim that it is not just the right but the duty of every Filipino to withdraw his support for Mr. Aquino, who has by then become very unpopular. If they can find the critical mass, Edsa III (sorry Erap, the version done in your name does not count in history) is a done deal.
That is why it is important that the Aquino administration should arrest this decline in his approval rating before it could worsen. In order to do that, they have to first find out the root causes of the loss of many of his believers. Why are there more people now who are disheartened with his administration? What made them disillusioned?
Aquino was swept into office by the largest margin in the history of our presidential elections. No particular group can claim credit for his spectacular victory, not the Liberal Party nor his army of volunteers. He could have run as an independent and still would have won. That was how popular he was. Or maybe, for the sake of accuracy, that was how popular his late mother was.
Cory Aquino is gone but her popularity remains as high as ever. Her son will have to figure out how to maintain his on his own.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 29, 2012.