The Social Weather Station, in its survey from March 4-7, 2011, disclosed a disturbing trend in President Noynoy Aquino’s satisfaction ratings. Across all the ABCDE groups and throughout the entire country, there is a definite downward trend. His net satisfaction rating went down 13 points to +51 (69% satisfied minus the 18% dissatisfied) from November’s +64 (74% satisfied, 10% dissatisfied).
This is not yet something to be worried about, and the over-all trend is still positive. However, there are two conclusions that can be made: first, there is already a transitioning away from his political honeymoon with the people; and second, the primary basis for judging him from now on is his performance.
To be sure, President Noynoy’s satisfaction ratings has started at a very high level and there’s no way but down. However, he has gone down more rapidly and now is unfavorably below the comparative ratings of previous presidents, except Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Nine months into their term, his mother, Cory Aquino, has satisfaction rating of +69, Fidel Ramos has +66, Joseph Estrada has +67. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has only +27 in November 2001 and -12 in March 2005.
Apart from the symbolism of the ill-advised Porsche purchase, the more serious cause of the present downtrend of President Noynoy’s satisfaction rating is the perception that his administration does not have a comprehensive program of government, reacts only to current events, and has misplaced priorities that do not address the urgent crises situations that confront the nation.
From the high inflation rate, job insecurity and perils of the overseas Filipino workers, and local job creation to urgent political reforms, there is a developing unease on how this administration tackles them. Worse, there is the growing impression that this administration is more intent on power consolidation, flexing its political muscle, and vindictively going after its political enemies.
An example is the complete lack of appreciation of necessary electoral reforms such as the passage of the political party reform bill and reforms of the automated election system. It would rather spend its political capital in an unnecessary synchronization of ARMM elections and in setting aside the scheduled ARMM elections, thereby complicating an already complicated situation. Its anti-labor decision in the PAL case is also being seen as an indicator of future labor policies. Now, everybody is waiting for the presidential approval for the Marcos burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
The greatest fear here is for the matuwid na daan to turn into detours and eventually ending up at the same crossroads. There is still time to straighten things but the seemingly unending string of patience is simply not there anymore. The honeymoon is ending, and soon.