Democracy satisfaction rating up: 74%

Manila, Philippines -- Filipinos' satisfaction with the way democracy works in the country climbed to a record-high 74 percent, up by nine points from last year's 65 percent, the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey results showed yesterday.

The nationwide non-commissioned survey conducted last March 19-22 found that 74 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with how democracy runs in the country, surpassing the previous record-high of 70 percent in September 1992 and July 1998.

It was also nine points higher than the 65 percent recorded in March last year.

The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,800 respondents nationwide.

SWS said satisfaction with the way democracy works exceeded 50 percent in only three out of 30 surveys from October 1999 to June 2009. It recovered to 68 percent in June 2010, and has since then stayed above 60 percent.

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.

Satisfaction with the way democracy works was highest in October 1992 (70 percent), July 1998 (70 percent), and June 2010 (68 percent), which, according to SWS, was related to the successful process of the presidential elections of 1992, 1998, and 2010 respectively.

The democracy survey this year was also conducted before the June mid-term elections.

Meanwhile, satisfaction with the way democracy works was a "disappointing" 44 percent in June 2004, after the presidential election of that year.

The survey also found that 59 percent of respondents said "democracy is always preferable to any other kind of government," compared to 21 percent that said "under some circumstances, an authoritarian government can be preferable to a democratic one" and 20 percent said "for people like me, it does not matter whether we have a democratic or a non-democratic regime."

Public 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, also standard in many national surveys.

The proportion of adult Filipinos saying "democracy is always preferable to any other kind of government" was at 59 percent in March 2013, one point up from 58 percent in March 2012 and the highest since 64 percent in December 2005.