Chilean President Bachelet's disapproval rating hits new high-poll

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 02, 2015 10:12 AM

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The proportion of Chileans who disapprove of President Michelle Bachelet rose to a new high as a sluggish economy complicates key reforms and a campaign financing scandal stokes resentment toward the political class, a poll showed on Wednesday.

Bachelet's disapproval rating jumped to 72 percent in August from 70 percent in the previous month, according to a survey by pollster GfK Adimark. It was the worst figure for any president since Adimark began conducting the surveys in 2006.

Meanwhile, the president's approval rating dropped to 24 percent, two percentage points lower than in July, also the worst level since 2006.

Bachelet's reputation has been tarnished by accusations that her son, Sebastian Davalos, used his political connections to get his wife access to a $10 million dollar loan and turn over a quick profit on a real estate deal.

An ongoing investigation revealed in August that information was erased from the computer Davalos used at La Moneda presidential palace, where he was cultural director before the scandal forced him to resign.

Left-leaning Bachelet led Chile, the world's top copper exporter, from 2006 to 2010 and began her second term in March 2014.

She began her second mandate with an approval rating of 54 percent and disapproval of 20 percent, but Chileans have soured on her government as slow economic growth and scandals including the Davalos affair have marred her message of addressing deep inequality.

However, the survey showed that the opposition Alianza coalition, also caught up in money-in-politics scandals, has so far failed to capitalize on Bachelet's falling popularity. Only 15 percent of those polled approve of the right-wing Alianza, while 75 percent disapprove.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)