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Social Weather Stations president Mahar Mangahas admits he is stumped by the results of his firm’s latest polling results.

For how can it be possible that President Rodrigo Duterte’s popularity has soared to a record high net satisfaction rating of “excellent” +or plus 72 while self-rated poverty soars to a five-year-high of 54 percent in the same survey conducted from December 13-16, 2019 with 1,200 households. Mangahas revealed that the “family head answers questions about poverty while a random adult from the household (who could be the household head) answers questions about performance.”

The survey was stacked up against the third quarter survey done in September 2019 and Mangahas declared that both surveys “represent the nation.”

“Clearly, the December rise in the presidential rating was not due to a relief in poverty, since there was none; on the contrary, poverty zoomed. Neither was the latest rise in poverty due to unpopularity of the President, since, on the contrary, he hit a personal best. Things that merely happen at the same time are typically not the causes of each other,” said Mangahas in his Inquirer column.

“I think the ideal way to study the causality of presidential popularity (or any variable of interest, call it X) is to include its potential determinants (call them A, B, C etc.) in a survey series, thus creating a comprehensive database from which to fit alternative statistical models relating X to A, B, C etc. in the time period of the data. The SWS survey database is too limited to test all possible hypotheses,” he added.

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