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Andanar asks ‘elitist’ Ateneo: Show proof that Duterte’s millions of followers are sheep

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A study by the Ateneo School of Government on the public satisfaction with President Rodrigo Duterte is “baseless and unfounded,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said on Thursday.

Andanar was reacting to the Ateneo School of Government’s survey which found that Duterte’s net satisfaction scores were tied to “herd behavior and disinformation.”

“We are disappointed with the weak and unrealistic outcomes generated by a study promulgated by the students of the Ateneo School of Government,” Andanar said.

“The significant and obvious deficiencies of the study were not able to correlate the assumptions and claims it made to the actual realities of the different communities which they say contributed to the increasing satisfaction ratings of President Duterte,” he added.

Tristan Canare, Ronald Mendoza, Leo Jaminola, and Jurel Yap from the Ateneo School of Government analyzed Duterte’s net satisfaction ratings based on polls by Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia.

The December 13 to 16 poll by SWS revealed that 82 percent of adult Filipinos are satisfied with Duterte’s performance, while only 10 percent are dissatisfied.

Pulse Asia’s December poll found that the President continued to enjoy public satisfaction on his work ethic after his approval score climbed by nine notches to 87 percent in December from 78 percent in September last year.

Canare, Mendoza, Jaminola, and Yap also conducted a survey in July 2019 among 1,200 low-income registered voters in Metro Manila.

Based on their study, there was “scant evidence that economic links are tied to presidential satisfaction.”

“Instead, there is evidence of herd behavior and partial evidence of disinformation possibly linked to presidential net satisfaction,” the study said.

Andanar said the Ateneo researchers were “loose” and “lazy” with their output.

“In fact, to explain away the respondents’ opinions of the President as ‘sheep’ behavior, making them easily led about, is very elitist. It is to imply that these people cannot think or decide for themselves or worse, that they cannot form their own opinion,” he said.

He said the study was nothing but a case of “gross overgeneralization with no hard proof of herd behavior.”

“The rigid conditions set by the study on its respondents to conclude that presidential net satisfaction ratings of President Duterte may be a product of disinformation, seems like a setup that will give them their desired outcome, given that the questions are not common knowledge or about matters of importance to the respondents, and that they can only answer yes or no,” he said.

“It is not how a study to show disinformation should be done,” Andanar added.

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