Opinion poll shows Cristina Fernandez rapidly losing support; crime and inflation main concerns
Argentine President Cristina Fernández popularity sank to 30% in August, less than half of what it was a year earlier, according to a poll published on Sunday that portrayed a country worried about crime and high inflation.
The telephone survey of 2,259 voting-age Argentines by polling company Management & Fit showed disgruntlement over the same interventionist policies that won Cristina Fernández a landslide re-election 10 months ago.
The popularity of the 59-year-old politician fell by 8.1 percentage points between August and July alone. As recently as September last year, a month before winning her second term, Fernandez had 64.1% popularity while campaigning on promises of deepening the interventionist policy model of her late husband and predecessor as president, Néstor Kirchner.
Since then the economy has slowed, and the Management & Fit poll suggests most people are not buying CFK's argument that external factors are mostly to blame.
The perception of an increase in street crime was first on the list of complaints voiced by participants in the poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points. No official crime statistics were available to back this up.
Annual inflation, clocked by private analysts at over 20%, was another worry voiced in the survey. The government fines economists who publish their inflation estimates, which tend to double or triple the official figures.
Participants in the poll also cited growing worries about unemployment. The country's second quarter jobless rate edged up to 7.2% from 7.1% percent in the first three months of the year. CFK image benefited from a fast-growing economy during most of her first four-year term.
Activity is now being slowed by fallout from Europe's debt crisis, softer demand from key trade partner Brazil and government-imposed currency and import curbs that have further hurt confidence in the economy.
Of those surveyed, 44.5% said Cristina Fernández' policies were the main cause of Argentina's economic stagnation, while just 8% blamed it on spill-over from problems in other countries.