SWS poll: Pinoys even more optimistic

Posted at 06/07/10 11:50 PM

SWS poll finds 35% expect life to improve vs 9% who think otherwise

MANILA, Philippines - Life is looking even rosier for Filipinos, with those expecting gains in the next 12 months far outnumbering compatriots of the opposite view, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.

The nationwide poll, conducted last March 19-22 among registered voters and made exclusive to BusinessWorld, found optimists accounting for 35% of the respondents versus just 9% who were pessimists.

Subtracting the former from the latter results in a net optimism score of +26, better than December 2009’s +21 (33% optimists, 12% pessimists) and continuing a return to what the SWS considers "high" marks that started with a +24 in September 2009.

For the SWS, "high" -- up from what is normally expected -- comprises scores from +20 to +29. In comparison "fair" scores -- the category containing the median and mode of responses -- range from +10 to +19.

The question posed was: "In your opinion, what will be the quality of your life in the coming 12 months? Would you say that it will be better, same, or will be worse?"

Asked to look back at the last 12 months, meanwhile, 19% said their lives had improved ("gainers") while 38% said it had worsened ("losers"). This resulted in a "mediocre" net gainers-losers score of -19, an improvement from December 2009’s "low" -22 (20% gainers, 42% losers) although the SWS described it as "hardly changed."

"Since 2006, the net gainers-losers has been at ’low" to ’very low’ levels in 13 out of 19 SWS surveys. In more than 80 national surveys from 1984 to the present, gainers have exceeded losers only twice -- in May 1986 by two points and in March 1987 by 11 points," the independent survey research institution said.

For this indicator, the SWS classes the median and modal answers as "low" (-29 to -20) and "very low" (-30 and below). Scores of -9 to zero are termed "fair," while -19 to -10 are "mediocre."

Net optimism, which the SWS said has "generally been on an upward trend over the past two years," rose in most areas: by 11 points in Metro Manila to +36, by seven in Mindanao to +21, and by five in the Balance of Luzon to +28. It hardly changed, at +22 from +21, in the Visayas.

Optimism was also up among socioeconomic classes: up seven to +26 in class E, by six to +32 in class ABC, and five to +26 among the class D ormasa.

The net gainers-losers indicator, meanwhile, remained low in most geographical areas. It eased by nine points to -11 in the Balance of Luzon, was hardly changed in the Visayas (-23 from -25) and Metro Manila (-24 from -25), and worsened by six points to -27 in Mindanao.
By class it improved eight points to -8 among the ABC, by five to -15 among the masa, and barely changed, to -28 from -26, among the class E.

Asked to comment, deputy presidential spokesman Gary B. Olivar said: "[T]he global recovery is clearly spreading and so their outlook is also more optimistic"

For his part, University of the Philippines economist Benjamin E. Diokno said: "Filipinos are naturally optimistic. I think statistically, speaking the improvement is not that [remarkable]."

The SWS survey, conducted as part of a pre-May 10 elections poll, involved 2,100 respondents, 300 of whom came from Metro Manila and 600 each from the Balance of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

The sampling error margins were ±2.2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, and ±4% for the rest of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.