Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is the most unpopular leader in the country since democracy was restored in 1986, the country's leading pollster said on Friday.
The Social Weather Stations (SWS) agency said in a statement that Arroyo registered a net satisfaction rating of minus 38 in a poll in the last week of June.
It said only 22 percent of the 1,200 respondents were satisfied with Arroyo's performance while 60 percent said they were dissatisfied.
Serge Remonde, a palace spokesman, said the low rating of the president was expected due to high prices of rice and oil which the people blamed on her and the administration. "We consider it as a continuing challenge," he said.
BusinessWorld newspaper quoted another palace spokesman, Anthony Golez, as saying: "A lot of people are mistaken in blaming the government for it when it is something no Filipino can stop, not even the president."
Annual inflation in June was at a 14-year high of 11.4 percent, pushed higher by oil and food prices. The Philippines imports most of its fuel needs and is the world's biggest importer of rice this year.
Arroyo is the only president since strongman Ferdinand Marcos was deposed in 1986 whose satisfaction rating has slipped into negative territory, SWS data showed. Her previous worst was a minus 33 rating in May 2005.
Despite a persistently poor showing in opinion polls, Arroyo is not seen in any danger of losing office. She was voted to power in 2004 for a six-year term.
She is supported by the military and her allies dominate the lower House of Representatives.
Although the Senate is controlled by the opposition, the powerful Catholic church is also by and large in Arroyo's favour.
Last Mod: 18 Temmuz 2008, 13:40