A poll from the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Reality (CERC) released Tuesday confirmed that Chile’s beleaguered President Sebastián Piñera continues to lose popular support.
Outright rejection of the President grew by 13 points to 66%, while those approving of his work fell 13 points, to just 22%, the poll found.
This is the lowest approval rating ever seen by a sitting president in the 25-year history of CERC polls and confirms the result of a recent Adimark poll that also found Piñera’s support going from bad to worse: dropping to 27%, according to the Adimark poll.
The CERC poll also found that 67% “believe little if anything” the President says, up from 57% last May. Another 16% “more or less” believe the President, while only 14% “believe a great deal” of what he says.
The CERC poll was based on interviews of 1,200 adults from all over Chile taken between Aug. 10 and Aug. 28, a time when the nation was riveted by continuing student protests that are supported by the vast majority of the nation.
The CERC poll also shows a sharp change in public perception of the most important issues now facing the nation: 74% cite education as the primary challenge to the nation, up from 24% last May. The poll determined that 89% of the public supports the ongoing student strikers/protesters, with 71 percent supporting a plebiscite initiative as a way to resolve education policy differences.
“Today, people from all the different social strata are naming education as the primary issue facing Chile,” said CERC director, Carlos Huneeus.
There was also a sharp increase in the number of people agreeing that the current government “works only for the business community,” – up to 71%, compared to 64% in the previous CERC poll.
The CERC poll also examined the state of Chile’s political parties. Support for opposition parties grew from 40 to 45%, even while another 43% continue to give a negative evaluation of the opposition parties.
Meanwhile, support for the centre-right governing parties dropped from 29% to 22%.
An election between the top-ranked opposition figure (former President Michelle Bachelet) and the top-ranked rightist leaders (Public Works Minister Laurence Golborne) would result in a 59% to 22% victory for Bachelet, the CERC poll found.
When people were asked who they believe will be the next president, Bachelet received 32%, Golborne 28%, and centre-left dissident Marco Enriquez-Ominami (a former presidential candidate in 2010) 3%.
By Steve Anderson - The Santiago Times