Chile Bachelet's approval rebounds after half-year of declines

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 03, 2015 8:44 AM

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chilean President Michelle Bachelet's approval ratings rebounded in January, reversing a six-month decline, while support for the conservative Alianza bloc dropped to an unprecedented low, pollster Adimark Gfk said on Tuesday.

Approval for the socialist president, who took office for a second non-consecutive term in March, rose to 44 percent to start the new year from 40 percent in December. Disapproval of Bachelet fell four percentage points to 49 percent in January.

"No doubt several factors combined to explain this improvement," the polling firm said.

Among them, Bachelet won several key legislative battles, specifically the first set of changes that form part of her landmark education reform, an overhaul of Pinochet-era electoral rules and a law allowing civil unions for same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples.

"Secondly, people's views of how the economy and jobs are being managed suggests that perceptions about the economy are stabilizing and even improving," said the pollster.

Despite a slowdown of economic activity in Chile, the world's top copper exporter, the labor market has remained surprisingly resilient.

Meanwhile, approval ratings for the conservative Alianza coalition dropped to a dismal 11 percent and disapproval jump to 78 percent as several of its key leaders are mired in a campaign-finance scandal. That compared to approval of 20 percent and disapproval of 71 percent in December.

"The opposition Alianza bloc has faced its biggest institutional crisis in many years, which is reflected in a disapproval for this coalition of 78 percent, the most ever recorded for this series," said Adimark Gfk.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito)