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President Piñera Scores Low on Citizen Evaluation

By Mariana Zepedaon July 3, 2012.

SANTIAGO — President Piñera and his government scored low in a recent citizen evaluation led by Radio Cooperativa.

President Piñera received low scores in recent citizen evaluations. Photo: Alex Ibañez

Halfway through 2012 and after the government’s first two years in power, high rates of citizen disapproval toward the conservative government have not wavered, remaining in a precariously low red zone.

In Cooperativa-Imaginacción’s most recent poll, 59.7 percent of Chilean families evaluated the President between scores of 1 and 4, and 12.3 percent evaluated him between 6 and 7. The President’s average score in this evaluation is 3.7, as his government scores a 3.8.

The poll also scored the most relevant news of the first half of the year, according to citizen opinion. News stories surrounding problems in public transportation, including several Metro stoppages and the Transantiago’s constant technical hitches, are considered the most relevant according to 49.7 percent of Chileans polled. The lack of consistent national energy policies, the conflict in Aysén and the shutdown of the Agrosuper factory in Freirina also scored high in relevance.

Radio Cooperativa also polled citizen’s support toward the recent bout of social movements. 83.9 percent of the families that were polled expressed support toward the student movement. 79.9 percent declared themselves in favor of the demands of the citizens of Aysén.

Citizens were also polled about the recent debates surrounding a minimum wage increase, for which popular opinion was divided. The minimum of a monthly 250,000 pesos was deemed appropriate by 51.9 percent of families polled, but 40.6 percent considers this amount too low to fulfill the necessities of Chilean reality. 7.1 percent believe that the amount supersedes people’s needs.

Radio Cooperativa also polled another relevant issue, the new Tolerancia Cero Law concerning driving under the influence. The polls indicated that 87.7 percent support the new law. The amount of people who are against the Tolerancia Cero Law lies at 10.3 percent as of the end of June, and has fallen since March.

The government’s position on several issues, such as minimum wage, has alienated the public, but social movements in particular have yielded high rates of citizen support, which have contributed to the decrease of the President’s popularity ratings.

President Piñera reached a 34 percent of approval in recent Adimark poll, increasing from 33 percent the last time the poll was held but maintaining a low approval rate.