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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference after concluding the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Manila, Philippines April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro(reuters_tickers)
MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte kept his "excellent" trust rating for a fourth consecutive quarter in an opinion poll, with four-fifths of Filipino's giving him the highest score in a survey that focuses on personality rather than policy.
Pollster Social Weather Stations has been tracking trust ratings of Duterte since December 2015, when he signed up for a presidential election that he won six months later. Duterte started off with a 47 percent trust rating and his peak was 84 percent a week before he took office late in June.
Eighty percent of the 1,200 Filipinos surveyed in the first quarter this year by SWS said they have "much trust" in the firebrand leader, a one percentage point drop from December.
Eleven percent said they were undecided and 10 percent have "little trust" in the former mayor from the southern Philippines.
The survey was conducted from March 25 to 28 and was released at the weekend. It did not ask respondents to give a reason for their ratings.
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.
SWS differentiates trust ratings from satisfaction ratings. Trust gauges public sentiment about a personality while satisfaction is related to an individual's performance related to his position or duty.
Ranhilo Aquino, a priest and political commentator, said the high rating did not necessarily mean his policies were as popular as he was, citing other surveys that showed declines in support for reinstating the death penalty and Duterte's bloody war on drugs, which has killed thousands of Filipinos.
Aquino in a television interview said Duterte came across as being pro-poor and the continued high rating of him also reflected "exasperation with the way things were before him".
"I don't think these numbers necessarily translate into policy support, he added.
(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Martin Petty and Michael Perry)