'43% doubt Arroyo's sincerity on stepping down'

MANILA - Almost one out of every two Filipinos believe that President Arroyo is not sincere in her plans to step down from the presidency in 2010, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey on the topic.

The survey, fielded over February 20 to 23, showed that 43 percent of respondents disagreed when presented with the following statement: "Tapat si Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sa kanyang balak sa pagbaba sa pwesto sa 2010 (President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sincerely intends to step down in 2010)."

Only 31 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, while 26 percent said they have yet to decide on the matter.

SWS said the latest results were more skeptical than in their previous survey, which showed only 39 percent of voting-age Filipino respondents disagreeing with the same test statement. Thirty-three percent of respondents agreed, while 27 percent were undecided.

Disagreement about President Arroyo's sincerity to step down rose by 11 points in Mindanao to 41 percent from 30 percent. In the Visayas region, it increased to 37 percent from 32 percent.

However, there were no significant changes in the President's trust levels in Metro Manila and Balance Luzon at 52 percent (from 51 percent) and 44 percent (from 43 percent), respectively.

Across classes, respondents from high-income levels (class ABC) showed more confidence in President Arroyo's intention to step down in 2010, as only 40 percent disagreed with the test statement from 53 percent in the previous survey.

More respondents from the masses (class D), however, doubted the President's political plans next year at 43 percent from 38 percent, while disagreement from class E respondents rose to 41 percent from 38 percent.

SWS said the survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults in Metro Manila, the Balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. It has a margin or error of plus or minus 3 percent.

The group said the survey item measuring public opinion on the sincerity of President Arroyo to step down in 2010 is not commissioned, but was done on SWS's own initiative and was released as a public service.



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