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Costa Ricans more worried about unemployment than coronavirus, poll finds

Five months after the first coronavirus case was confirmed in the country, Costa Ricans are more concerned about unemployment than the pandemic, according to polling from the Center for Research and Political Studies (CIEP).

Of the 877 Costa Rican adults surveyed, 27.95% ranked unemployment as their biggest concern, followed by the coronavirus (25%), and the economy and cost of living (19%).

“Unemployment has remained constant in the concerns of Costa Ricans since August 2013, and since March 2019 it has been the greatest concern with the sole exception of April, when — with the health crisis beginning — the coronavirus ranked first,” CIEP said.

The poll was conducted between August 3-11 and has a margin of error of 3 points.

Unemployment in Costa Rica reached 24% in the April-June quarter, the highest on record, as the country continues to suffer the economic effects of the pandemic.

But 53% of the people CIEP surveyed said they had lost their job, “evidence of the affectation among Costa Rican families after five months of health crisis.”

50% disapproval of President Alvarado

CIEP’s previous sociopolitical opinion survey, conducted in April, found “a historic rebound in the positive evaluations of the president and the government.” But that sentiment didn’t last long.

The August data indicate 26% of the population evaluates President Carlos Alvarado positively, while 50% disapprove.

“Since April, the president has been asked for more economic reactivation measures, the aftermath of the case of the Presidential Data Analysis Unit (UPAD) has followed and more recently, his last vacation has been publicly questioned,” CIEP’s report reads.

Similarly, confidence in the government’s actions in the face of the coronavirus crisis has dropped from 75% in April to 46% in August.

However, a majority of Costa Ricans (69%) still evaluate positively the health measures implemented by the government.

Support for democracy remains high

CIEP found citizen support for democracy remains high, at 65 points out of a possible 100, “a value higher than the average of the last 16 years and above the pre-pandemic values.”

“Support is generalized among the different sectors of the population and does not originate exclusively in some social groups,” CIEP said.

However, the research body indicated that deteriorating confidence in the government could increase the risk for Costa Rica’s democracy.

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