San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Poll: Nicas Fear Dictatorship in The Making

More than 64 percent of Nicaraguans say President Daniel Ortega is “an authoritarian governor acting to establish a dictatorship,” and about the same percentage say they don’t approve of the way he is managing the country, according to a poll conducted this month by M&R Consultants for the daily La Prensa.

The poll surveyed 1,600 people in all 15 departments of the country, as well as the two autonomous regions.

M&R director Raul Obregon told La Prensa that the poll shows Ortega has lost eight percentage points of support since the 2006 election results, in which he won with 38 percent of the vote.

The poll revealed that the vast majority of Nicaraguans feel the country’s economy hasn’t improved since Ortega took office in January 2007 – inflation has reached an accumulated 23.35 percent since then.

When asked whether the economy has improved during Ortega’s presidency, 88.8 percent said they “disagree” or “totally disagree.”

The perception that Ortega is moving the country toward a dictatorship has also increased by four percentage points since January, to 64.2 percent, according to the poll released this week.Meanwhile, 22.1 percent of those surveyed said Ortega is a “democratic leader devoted to the laws of the country,” while 13.7 percent didn’t respond.

According to Obregon, not only has support for Ortega fallen, but it has fallen among those who identify as Sandinista.

The poll revealed that 32.3 percent of self-proclaimed Sandinistas say Ortega is trying to establish a dictatorship.

Furthermore, Obregon pointed out, the percentage who identify as Sandinista has also dropped from around 40 percent in past surveys to 26 percent in this month’s poll.

While 64.5 percent of those surveyed don’t support Ortega’s management of the country, 20.4 percent said they support him “with reservations and doubts,” and 11.8 percent answered that they support him outright.

More than three-quarters of the population said Ortega hasn’t completed his promise to eliminate hunger, while 80 percent say he hasn’t followed through on his promises to reduce unemployment.

The survey also found that Nicaraguans divide their blame for the country’s situation on the various governments and politicians dating back to the Somoza family dictatorship, which was overthrown in 1979.


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