Costa Rica president’s approval plummets 21 points

September 12, 2008

The morning after President Oscar Arias gave an Independence Day address that seemed more a resignation speech at times, a new Unimer poll suggests a remarkable number of voters may wish it had been just that – a farewell from Arias.

Published yesterday in the daily La Nación, the poll by Unimer Research International said the number of Costa Ricans who think their president is doing a “poor” or “very poor” job has doubled, from 14 percent in March to 28 percent.

Arias´ approval rating has plummeted from 50 percent in March to 29 percent in the poll, conducted of 1,230 Ticos from Aug. 28 to Sept. 4. Forty-three percent of interviewees deemed Arias´ performance as “average.”

The president´s turnover-prone cabinet also took a blow, with an 18 percent approval rating, far below March´s 36 percent.

The marks are the lowest since Arias took office in May 2006, and represent an about-face from January when his approval rating shot up to almost 65 percent, according to a CID-Gallup poll.

The latest report card came after Arias told the nation Monday he is “tired of trying to govern a country that believes criticism at any cost is the best way to carry out opposition.”

Criticism of Arias and his administration surged recently, following controversy over the secret sale of $300 million in Costa Rican bonds to China.

A prior portion of the Unimer poll published Sunday said an increasing number of Costa Ricans (44 percent) put economic woes at the top of their list of worries, followed by a slightly falling concern about crime and violence (16 percent).

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