Chilean President Pinera's Approval Rating Slides to 46% in July Survey

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera’s approval rating slid to 46 percent in July from 52 percent in June, according to a poll published by Adimark GfK.

The poll of 1,110 people has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent, the Santiago-based research company said today in an e-mailed statement. Pinera has the lowest approval rating of any new president since the South American country’s return to democracy two decades ago, CEP, another Santiago-based research group, said in a poll published July 29.

The popularity of Pinera, who unseated the Concertacion coalition that had governed Chile since the late dictator Augusto Pinochet ceded power in 1990, has suffered from the effects of February’s earthquake, said Patricio Navia, a specialist in Chilean politics at New York University. His approval reflects perceptions that he lacks the charisma of predecessor Michelle Bachelet, said Mauricio Morales, a political scientist at Universidad Diego Portales.

“Pinera never had a honeymoon,” Navia, who publicly announced his vote for Pinera in January, said in an e-mailed response to questions July 29. “He got elected because the Chilean electorate fell out of love with the Concertacion.”

Bachelet’s approval in July of her first year in office was 43 percent, according to Adimark.

She had 46 percent in her first CEP survey, while Ricardo Lagos had 49 percent, Eduardo Frei had 50 percent and Patricio Aylwin had 74 percent. CEP said its poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

Pinera, a 60-year-old billionaire, beat former President Eduardo Frei 52 percent to 48 percent in January’s runoff election. His March 11 inauguration marked the first transition between democratically elected opponents since Salvador Allende took office in 1970.

The magnitude-8.8 temblor and ensuring tsunamis killed about 500 people and caused $30 billion in damage.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sebastian Boyd in Santiago at sboyd9@bloomberg.net Randy Woods in Santiago at rwoods13@bloomberg.net

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