Unpacking Presidential Satisfaction: Insights from Survey Data on Philippine Presidents

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Notwithstanding their widespread use in many modern democracies, surveys on leadership satisfaction have generated much debate, regarding the possible factors driving public opinion. As a contribution to the literature, this study empirically examines data on Philippine presidential net satisfaction generated by well-established survey firms in that country, as well as a unique survey commissioned by the authors of this study. Using both macro- and microlevel data, this study unpacks the links between survey results on citizens’ satisfaction with leadership and policies in the Philippines to try and advance our understanding of the possible factors that may drive them. This study finds scant evidence that economic links are tied to presidential satisfaction, despite the primacy of the economy in Philippine surveys of key policy issues. Instead, there is evidence of herd behavior and partial evidence of disinformation possibly linked to presidential net satisfaction. The findings here suggest there should be more caution in interpreting presidential satisfaction indicators.