Santos urban approval stays at 72%: Poll

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ urban approval rating is at 72%, according to a poll by research center Gallup.

The poll, which took results from the five largest cities in Colombia, concluded that Santos approval rating remained the same as a poll held in August.

The approval of Santos’ counter-guerrilla policies shot up to 66%, following the November 4 death of FARC leader ‘Alfonso Cano;’ an increase of 23 percentage points on the previous poll.

Approval for Colombia’s Armed Forces shot up from 74% to 83%.

Despite the popular support for the recent murder of Alfonso Cano, a slight majority of Colombians (53%) believe that the best way to achieve peace in through the insistence of open dialogue between conflicting groups. A military solution was favored by 44%.

The increase in approval of Santos’ counter-insurgency policies was contrasted by a severe drop in approval for his education, health and poverty policies.

More than half of Colombians, 55%, expressed their disapproval of the availability and quality of public education in the country, which have been subjected to nationwide student protests in protest of a now-withdrawn higher education reform.

At the last poll, only 34% of Colombians disapproved of Santos education policies.

The majority of Colombians are also dissatisfied with the presidents health policies, his policies to tackle poverty, the increasing cost of life in Colombia and the issue of insecurity.

The acting Bogota mayor, Clara Lopez, who took over from disgraced former mayor Samuel Moreno Rojas, has 78% support in the capital, which was a marked increase of 13% on the previous poll.

Medellin mayor, Alonso Salazar, registered an approval rating of 63%, which was a slight decrease of 2% on the previous poll.

Cali Mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina registered and approval rating of 70% while Baranquilla Mayor Alejandro Char registered almost total support with an approval rating of 90%.

A large majority of Colombians, 70%, support the US-Colombia free trade agreement, which was signed on the October 12 after five years of deadlock in U.S. congress.

Colombians tend to view the United States in a positive light, with 66% saying that they have a positive perception of their northern neighbors. The poll found that U.S. President Barack Obama has an approval rating of 77% with Colombians. At home, Obama enjoys the approval of 43%.

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