President Laura Chinchilla had some sad reading in the Unimer polls this month. She achieved (if that is the word) a record low number of no-confidence in November, with 61% of voters saying she had a bad or very bad performance.
Yet, although unhappy with their government (her cabinet ranked even lower than the President) nine out of 10 Ticos consider themselves happy.
The current President ranked even lower than the 57% disapproval rating of ex-President Jose Maria Figueres in 1995. Her approval figures surpass even her previous low point in September of 56% no confidence.
This means only 11% favorable ratings and 27% saying that her performance is only so-so. La Nacion pointed out that the new low ebb comes after a first quarter in which her reputation was battered by demonstrators opposing the failed San Jose-San Ramon road concession and a scandal involving an aircraft lent her.
Even more damaging among voters with longer memories was the disaster of the border road, Route 1856. The confidence vote was not helped by her trip to Peru in a plane chartered by a company linked with a businessman implicated (at least journalistically) to narcotics traffic.
La Nacion’s Thursday edition showed a graph with a steady decline for Chinchilla from so-so in July 2010 to a truly dismal November 2013 without even a bump. The Nov. 8-20 poll of 2,416 persons has an error factor only 2%.
Unusual for these polls, the very bad performance figures (31%) topped the simply “bad” marks (30%). The very worst critical segment came from male university students and those with a higher income level.
But the worst figures came with the ratings of her cabinet—72% considered their performance negatively with only a 5% positive rating. The index is considered on the basis of the quality of the cabinet, management of public moneys, problem solving, perception of corruption and estimation of whom is benefited by decisions.
The perception, for example, of corruption rose from 70% in September to 75% in November, possibly due to the wildly unpopular concession for the widening of the San Ramon-San Jose highway. Opponents of that contract alleged rampant corruption in the granting of concessions to a construction firm.
Despite the perception that their government is corrupt and inept, nine out of 10 Ticos view their lives as happy. The happiest, as one might suspect, are those between 18 and 29 years old with at least some college class records, from the middle and upper class, who live in urban areas.
Unhappiest were women over 50 with only primary education, poor, who live in urban areas. Overall, Costa Rica has been rated as number 12 in 151 countries and the happiest in Latin America by the United Nations.
Happy Planet’s rating (by the New Economy Foundation) rated this country population that makes the planet the happiest in 2009 and 2012. This rating includes many quality of life parameters. But Unimer’s November poll noted a slight decrease in the number of “very happy” persons from September.
But in the Unimer latest poll, 27% of those polled confessed to being most concerned with a lack of employment opportunities, divided almost equally among men and women. This reflects the economic reality of more than 10% unemployment.
Employment remains static but, happily, so did the perception of insecurity, in the past the number one gripe among citizens.