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Santos’ popularity strong after 12 months in office: Poll

posted by Stephen Manker

Colombia News - Juan Manuel Santos

President Juan Manuel Santos is popular among Colombians, but needs to address issues of unemployment, security, and poverty, according to a survey conducted by Centro Nacional de Consultaria.

After 12 months in office, President Santos appears to have the support of his people. 85% of Colombians surveyed said they had a positive image of their president, 83% approve of Santos’ management, and 80% believe that the country is heading in the right direction.

But unemployment still remains an issue, despite Santos’ recent prediction that the rate of unemployment would drop to single digit levels in 2011. 44% of the respondents disagreed with the measures Santos has taken to reduce unemployment.

When asked whether security was increasing or decreasing in the country, 52% of respondents said that security has decreased in the last year. Contrastingly, 76% believe that Colombia’s largest guerrilla group FARC are weaker now than they were twelve months ago.

According to 58% of the respondents, poverty in Colombia has increased over the last year.

In an interview with CM&, Santos explained that “Colombia has started to take many families out of poverty; nearly 350,000 families are no longer living in extreme poverty this year.” He also told newspaper El Tiempo that his goal is to “reduce poverty by 23%” by the end of his four-year term.

Santos explained that he has “a list of promises that he is working through,” and that unemployment, national security, poverty, and infrastructure are at the top of his list.

A majority of the respondents also indicated that Santos has done well with issues of corruption and the devastating rainy season. When asked whether Santos is fighting corruption, 75% agreed. 73% also agreed with Santos’ leadership during the rainy season.

“I am very happy with this year’s figures, but there is still much to do,” said Santos in closing.

The survey sampled 1,000 respondents with telephone calls in 34 Colombian cities, and had a 3.1% margin of error.

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