Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval rating has soared to a record high of 91 percent, according to a public opinion survey conducted last month by the nonprofit Philippine pollster, Pulse Asia.
The polling body said it conducted face-to-face interviews with 1,200 Filipinos aged 18 years and older from September 14 to 20, adding that the respondents represented diverse geographic areas and socio-economic groupings within the Philippines.
About 91 percent of Filipinos polled for the survey said they both approved of Duterte’s overall performance and trusted him.
The Philippine economy, like those of most countries around the globe, has been negatively impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The World Bank says it expects the nation’s economy to contract by 6.9 percent this year. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, the Philippines enjoyed one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, recording a 6.2 percent growth in its GDP at the end of 2019’s third quarter.
Pulse Asia President Ronnie Holmes discussed Duterte’s approval rating during a recent television interview, saying he believed that “the overwhelming thumbs-up for Duterte showed the public blamed the [economic] decline on the impact of COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] rather than government mishandling.”
Pulse Asia conducted its survey specifically “in and around the capital Manila, where tight [coronavirus] restrictions have been partly loosened to try to revive business activities,” according to Reuters.
Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, acknowledged the president’s new record-high approval rating during a virtual press briefing on Monday, the Philippine Star reported.
“We thank the Filipino people because of the new Pulse Asia survey,” he said in Filipino.
A polarizing figure, Duterte faces fierce criticism from opponents for what they view as an authoritarian style of leadership, coupled with a low tolerance for dissent. Among many Filipinos, however, Duterte “remains hugely popular because of his man-of-the-people style and a perception of strong leadership and success in fighting crime and corruption,” Reuters noted on Monday.