By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Slightly fewer Filipinos have expressed satisfaction with the way democracy works in the Philippines, a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.
The nationwide survey conducted on March 23-27 with 1,200 respondents found 78 percent of Filipinos satisfied with how democracy works in the country. This is two points below the 80 percent in June 2017, and similar to the 79 percent in June 2016.
The question on “satisfaction in the way democracy works” originated in the Eurobarometer surveys, and is also in standard use in Latin American and Asian barometer projects.
SWS said satisfaction with the way democracy works has been above 60 percent since June 2010, ranging from 64 to 86 percent. Meanwhile, it exceeded 50 percent in only two out of 31 surveys from October 1999 to June 2009.
It also noted that satisfaction with the way democracy works had peaks of 70 percent in September 1992, 70 percent in July 1998, 68 percent in June 2010, and the record-high 86 percent in September 2016, related to the successful presidential elections of 1992, 1998, 2010 and 2016, respectively.
The previous record of 80 percent in June 2013 was achieved after the May 2013 senatorial elections, while satisfaction with the way democracy works was a “disappointing” 44 percent in June 2004, after the presidential election of that year.
As also found in the survey, 60 percent said “democracy is always preferable to any other kind of government,” compared to 19 percent saying “under some circumstances, an authoritarian government can be preferable to a democratic one” and 21 percent saying “for people like me, it does not matter whether we have a democratic or a nondemocratic regime.”
SWS explained that preference between democracy and authoritarianism is a different issue from the degree of satisfaction with how democracy works, and is probed by a separate question.
The proportion of adult Filipinos saying “democracy is always preferable to any other kind of government” hardly moved from 61 percent in June 2017 to 60 percent in March 2018.
It has been above 50 percent since February 2009, reaching a record-high 65 percent in June 2013.
Meanwhile, the proportion of those saying “under some circumstances, an authoritarian government can be preferable to a democratic one” has been steady at 19 percent from September 2016 to March 2018. It has been below 20 percent for five consecutive quarters since December 2015.
The proportion of those saying “for people like me, it does not matter whether we have a democratic or a nondemocratic regime” barely changed from 20 percent in June 2017 to 21 percent in March 2018. It has been 20 percent and above in six out of seven surveys since September 2013.