San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arias’ Job Score Soars

Oscar Arias enjoys the most public support since being sworn in May 2006 as president of Costa Rica, a CID-Gallup poll suggests.
The poll, published this week in the daily La República, gives Arias a 64% approval rating –up from the 44% support in a poll in October.
“This is the highest rating of this presidency, for sure,” Carlos Denton, chief analyst of CID-Gallup, told The Tico Times. He added that it could be the greatest show of support for Arias in his presidential career, pointing to a prior term Arias served 20 years ago, from 1986 to 1990.
As the official Gallup surveying office of the region, Denton said, “we must do three surveys minimum a year, even if nobody publishes them,” as the poll’s namesake George Gallup would have wanted. But CID-Gallop aims for four opinion polls per year, as a way to keep elected officials in check, according to the analyst.
“By publishing these data we can at least make them (political leaders) wince once in a while,” Denton said.
However, with the rating at its highest this time, there has been scant wincing in the Arias administration. The president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said he feels more emboldened by the poll.
“This motivates me to go forward,” the nation’s leader told La República. “I believe that Costa Ricans are becoming aware that this ship has a captain and a good crew, and in the past two years, we’ve continued to make decisions,” he said.
Furthermore, taking a swipe at those working against the Arias administration, he added, “we could do more if it weren’t for the opposition.”
In the poll, 11% of those questioned said they disapproved of the administration. However, that rate has fallen from 16% in the October poll.
Among the positives which earned Arias the public’s thumbs up, the survey’s subjects cited government handouts for housing, social programs for the poor, improvements in infrastructure, higher pensions and support for Central America’s freetrade agreement with the United States.

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