President Arroyo’s rating plunges, new poll shows

By Teresa Cerojano, AP

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s approval rating has plunged amid a kickbacks scandal involving an allegedly overpriced broadband contract with China, a survey showed Monday.

Independent pollster Social Weather Stations said its Sept. 2-5 survey, commissioned and published by BusinessWorld daily, showed 42 percent of 1,200 respondents dissatisfied and 34 percent satisfied with Arroyo.

The net satisfaction rating — the difference between the number of satisfied and dissatisfied — dipped to a negative 11 points, the lowest this year, from negative 3 points in June, BusinessWorld reported.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The survey showed that dissatisfaction with Arroyo deteriorated in urban areas. She was rated worst in Manila, a traditional opposition stronghold.

Arroyo has been the least popular of four presidents since democracy was restored in 1986, the SWS said in earlier polls.

The latest survey was taken amid allegations of bribery and overpricing in a US$330 million (euro235 million) national broadband project the government had awarded to China’s Zhong Xing Telecommunication Equipment Corp. to link up all its offices on the Internet.