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Philippines 'President Rodrigo Duterte stands at attention during a courtesy call with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers in Manila, Philippines, September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Pool/Mark Cristino(reuters_tickers)
MANILA (Reuters) - Trust and satisfaction in Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte fell to the lowest of his presidency in the third quarter of this year, a survey showed on Sunday, although sentiment about his leadership remained positive overall.
Net satisfaction, used by pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) as a rating of the president's performance, was down 18 points from the second quarter to 48, classified as "good" in the survey of 1,200 Filipinos conducted in the last week of September.
Duterte's net trust rating, which gauges public sentiment about his personality, was "very good" at 60 points, down from "excellent" 75 he achieved in the previous poll.
The survey was conducted just a few days after thousands of Filipinos rallied to denounce Duterte, his anti-drug crackdown and what they called an emerging dictatorship.
Thousands of Filipinos have been killed in the crackdown and other SWS polls conducted in September indicated doubts about the validity of official accounts of the 3,800 cases where police killed drug suspects.
The SWS survey did not ask respondents to give a reason for the rating of Duterte, who took office in June 2016. Duterte's spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the survey results.
Political analyst Ramon Casiple, head of the country's Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said it was normal for a president's rating to fall during his time in office, but concern over the high death toll in his signature war on drugs will have weighed on sentiment.
Activists accuse Duterte of inciting police to kill drug dealers and users, which he denies. Police reject allegations they are executing suspects and say deaths occurred because victims had violently resisted arrest.
Casiple said that though the poll still showed Duterte had the support of Filipinos, he should take it seriously.
"This is a real diminution of his popularity and it serves as a wakeup call for him to stop it further going down," Casiple said of the poll.
"However, this is still a comfortable figure and far from the threshold of unpopularity."
Based on SWS methodology for net trust ratings, a score of 70 and above is considered excellent, 50 to 69 is very good, 30-49 good and 10-29 moderate.
While his political opponents chide him for his authoritarian style and intolerance of dissent, Duterte enjoys a cult-like following and support from millions of Filipinos, who see him as the best hope for change in a country with rampant crime and a yawning gap between rich and poor.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty and David Evans)