While Santos could still count on the approval of 30% of the inhabitants of Colombia’s five biggest cities at the end of July, by the end of August this had slipped back to 29%.
Some 66% of those living in Colombia’s five largest cities disapprove of the president’s tenure. This was only 17% just after he took office in 2010.
Santos’ approval rating since taking office
The poll demonstrates that Santos’ recent announcement of a formal deal with the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC, has all but impressed Colombians.
Santos has gambled his political legacy on the successfully concluded peace talks, but urban Colombians don’t care.
The 52-year-log armed conflict with the FARC is mainly felt in the countryside. In the cities people have different and equally imminent concerns.
Colombia’s five biggest cities
According to the poll, urban Colombians mainly disapprove of the president’s handling of corruption, healthcare, cost of life, and urban insecurity, issues that have taken a back seat in Santos’ executive vehicle.
Majority of Colombia’s cities pessimistic
Overall, 69% of urban Colombians believe the situation in the country has worsened over the past year, a pessimism that weighs heavily on Santos who promised a whole series of improvements, but has little to show for since.
When he took office, the president promised to engage in a “war on corruption,” only to witness Colombia’s “biggest corruption scandal in history” unfold without doing anything about it.
Consequently, the Gallup poll revealed that 85% of urban Colombians believe that corruption in the country is getting worse. No more than 6% believe its improving.
The ongoing crisis in Colombia’s healthcare system that is leaving people literally dying in hospital waiting rooms is good for another 85% disapproval rating.
Eighty-four percent of urban Colombians disapprove of the president’s handling of food prices that have spiked as a result of a collapse in Colombia’s main export product, oil.
Colombia’s current inflation rate hovers just below 9%, but food prices peaked much higher during weeks-long trucker and peasant strikes that were effectively left unattended by the government for weeks.
Peace among the lesser pessimistic
In regards’ to guerrilla groups like the FARC and the ELN, 43% believes the problems they are causing has worsened while 36% believe the situation improved.
Gallup Colombia director Martin Orzoco told media that Santos could have been worse of had it not been for the successes in the peace talks.
“The announcement helped that the public opinion wasn’t more pessimistic,” said Orzoco, who confirmed there are other “issues that are of great impact on the public opinion and they have a high perception of deterioration.”