Argentina president's image slides further as CPI, crime weigh

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 30, 2012 1:48 PM
Argentina president's image slides further as CPI, crime weigh

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina President Cristina Fernandez's popularity continued its downward slide in September, sinking to 24.3 percent from 30 percent in August, according to a poll published on Sunday, as high inflation and worries over crime weighed.

As recently as September 2011, a month before winning her second term, Fernandez had a 64.1 percent popularity rating while campaigning on promises of deepening the interventionist policy model of her late husband and predecessor as president, Nestor Kirchner.

The 24.3 percent popularity rate for September is the lowest of Fernandez's second term. It had been at 38.1 percent in July.

But the economy has been seen slowing sharply due to high inflation, a sluggish world economy, waning demand from top trade partner Brazil, a drought-hit 2011/12 grain crop and new trade and currency controls that have dented confidence.

Argentina clocked zero growth in the second quarter of 2012, its weakest year-on-year performance since the third quarter of 2009, when the world was gripped by financial crisis.

The survey of 2,259 Argentines by polling company Management & Fit found that 60.6 percent of interviewees disapproved of the Peronist leader's management.

Of those surveyed, 72.2 percent said they approved of this month's "cacerolazo" - a popular form of protest in Latin America that involves banging pots and pans - to decry Argentina's economy and crime.

The INDEC statistics agency earlier this month said 12-month inflation through August climbed into double digits at 10 percent from 9.9 percent a month earlier. That was far below the 20 percent to 25 percent rate estimated by independent economists and consumer groups.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

(Reporting By Guido Nejamkis; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Bill Trott)