Poll sets President Alan Garcia’s approval rating at six-month high

Peru President Alan García’s approval rating rose to a six-month high in December, up six points from an all-time low of 19 percent registered last September, according to recent polls.

Conducted by Lima-based Ipsos & Apoyo, the poll was based on a Dec. 17-19 survey of 500 Peruvians, and has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

The sudden six-point jump comes on the heels of the 16th APEC Summit held in Lima in November – this year’s best regarded event, according to the survey – and García’s presentation of a $3 billion economic stimulus package earlier this month.

García’s approval is bound to continue or even rise after he hosted on Sunday the revival of a once traditional, one-day fundraising telethon, which raised a record-breaking 10 million soles, or $3.2 million, to rescue the children’s orthopaedic hospital, Hogar Clinica San Juan de Dios, from bankruptcy. The clinic provides surgery and rehabilitation to children of low-income families. In recent years, it has also been the center for free cleft palate surgery performed by surgical teams from the U.S.

García’s approval rating remains at its highest in Peru’s capital, Lima (32 percent), and at its lowest in the south of the country, where approval was registered at 14 percent.

In southern Peru, where one year ago a magnitude-8 earthquake killed hundreds and left thousands more homeless, residents have repeatedly expressed their discontent with García’s administration, which has been dogged by constant delays in the reconstruction effort and widespread accusations of government mismanagement, corruption and profiteering.

In September, García’s approval rating plummeted to 19 percent, an all-time low since he took office in July 2006.

It remained low throughout October, as García faced nationwide protests against his political and economic policies and against widespread government corruption after his administration was rocked to its core by an oil kickback scandal.

According to Ipsos, 54 percent of those polled expressed discontent about price hikes and inflation, this year’s more than month-long doctor’s strike (38 percent), the Discover Petroleum oil kickback scandal (31 percent), and highway accidents (24 percent).

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