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Costa Rica president off to a rough start, survey says

May 14, 2015

President Luis Guillermo Solís faced a steep learning curve coming into Costa Rica’s highest office without any previous elected experience, and the people aren’t cutting him any slack.

The president has seen a steep drop in his approval ratings since July 2014, according to a survey from the University of Costa Rica released Wednesday.

After his first 100 days in office, Solís enjoyed a 68 percent approval rating among citizens who said they had a lot or some confidence in him. That support dropped to 42 percent in Wednesday’s survey.

More than 76 percent surveyed said that they did not think Solís would be able to bring about the change he campaigned on. That pessimism bled into respondents’ opinions on the state of the country: Only 20 percent said that the government was well-run, down from 39.2 percent in July 2014; and 32.2 percent said that the country was in bad shape.

A full 60 percent said that the economy was “bad” or “very bad.”

The survey was based on calls to 793 people between April 8 and April 30 from all parts of the country and across a variety of educational backgrounds, ages and sex.

Respondents also took notice of the shake-ups in Solís’ cabinet. A majority of respondents said that the president’s cabinet appointments were among his worst decisions and that the dismissal of former Presidency Minister Melvin Jiménez and others were among his best.

The latest casualty of the cabinet clean-up was former Culture Minister Elizabeth Fonseca, who resigned Tuesday amidst the fallout from the International Arts Festival debacle. Solís has lost six ministers so far during his brief time in office.

Despite the poor numbers, more respondents were hopeful about the near future than not. More than 33 percent said the government would improve. While that number has shrunk significantly since the 59.2 percent who felt optimistic about the future in July 2014, there are still more Costa Ricans who feel good about the future of the administration than those who believe it will stay the same (30.5 percent), or worsen (25.1 percent).

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