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Chart on ‘net approval ratings’ of NCR mayors misleads

A chart showing the net approval ratings of Metro Manila’s 17 mayors amid the COVID-19 pandemic was not put out by the lobbying and campaigns firm Publicus Asia as it was being made to look like.

The chart “Net Approval Ratings of Metro Manila Mayors,” which identified Publicus Asia as the source, is user generated. It extracted data from the firm’s April 2-6 NCR COVID-19 Survey to compute the net approval ratings.

The chart circulated in the subreddit r/Philippines and Viber groups, and appeared in tweets that congratulated mayors who fared well and Facebook posts that slammed those who did poorly. It was also the basis for a news report of the tabloid Abante Tonite.

The user-generated chart showed Pateros Mayor Miguel Ponce III and Valenzuela’s Rex Gatchalian topping the list and Malabon’s Antolin Oreta and Quezon City’s Joy Belmonte at the bottom.

Publicus Asia, which released April 8 the survey findings through a virtual presser, said in a statement the chart was “spurious” and “was not generated or authorized by Publicus in any way.”

The lobbying and campaigns firm said its official table, “Approval of Mayor/LGU per City,” does not name the mayors, who were similarly not named on the questionnaire. The table also bears the logos of Publicus Asia and its VOX Opinion Research.

Publicus Asia had asked respondents to indicate their level of approval or disapproval with the manner their mayor and city government were responding to the pandemic. It pointed out:

This indicates that what is being measured here is approval or disapproval on both the mayor and the institution as a whole. In a crisis, this is not just about the mayor but the whole bureaucracy of the city hall which he or she leads.

Publicus Asia said it does not subscribe to using net approval as a “standalone metric” for measuring approval and disapproval of public officials and government institutions.

It stressed its official table as well as its official chart only shows a scale of approval ratings—Strongly Disapprove, Disapprove, Neither, Approve and Strongly Approve—and not net approval, which is calculated by subtracting disapproval from approval.

Publicus Asia, however, acknowledged that the survey’s executive summary and media deck referenced net approval on a limited basis as “a secondary metric for the sole purpose of gleaning additional insights from the primary approval/disapproval metrics based on income group classification.”

It said it will discontinue this in succeeding reports.

The survey, set to run weekly for the whole of April, polled 1,000 respondents between the ages of 18 and 70 living in Metro Manila. It was drawn from a pool of 100,000 potential panelists provide by Lightspeed Research/Kantar headquartered in Singapore.

Abante Tonite has 1.15 million followers on Facebook. Subreddit r/Philippines has about 301,000 members.


Byx Speaks [byxbuzz]. (2020, April 9). Congratulations, Valenzuela City Mayor REX Gatchalian @rex_gatchalian!! Ang ganda ng ginawa ng Gatchalian Bros sa Valenzuela City! Napakahusay nilang mamuno!!! [Tweet]. Retrieved from

DDS Quezon City. (2020, April 9). YELLOW QC Mayor KULELAT in the survey in grade MINUS 43. It's embarrassing but everyone knows that QC is really different from which BELMONTE reigns. Mayor, congressman (past and present), councilor, DYNASTY to the MAX [Facebook update]. Retrieved from

Galban, D. [DexGalban]. (2020, April 9). The net approval ratings of Metro Manila mayors according to Publicus Asia, Inc. Kudos to Team Pateros, Valenzuela, Pasig, Marikina, Manila, San Juan, Navotas, Makati, Taguig & Mandaluyong! [Tweet]. Retrieved from

Joy Belmonte kulelat sa mga Metro mayor. (2020, April 9). Abante Tonite. Retrieved from

Pobautista. (2020, April 9). Net approval ratings of Metro Manila mayors. Source: Publicus Asia COVID-19 Online Panel Survey, April 8, 2020. Retrieved from

Publicus Asia. (2020, April 9). Publicus response to NCR mayors “net approval” chart. Retrieved from

Publicus Asia. (2020, April 8). Happening now: Publicus Asia's executives reveal the results of NCR COVID-19 Panel Survey [Facebook Live]. Retrieved from

Publicus Asia. (2020, April 8). Notes on the methodology of the NCR COVID-19 survey. Retrieved from


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