Friday, 30 July 2010

CEP Piñera. C'est Piñera?

Anyone who follows politics in Chile knows that the CEP poll is the one poll that people trust to indicate the nature of the political universe. The first CEP poll of the Piñera years was released yesterday, and it can be found here.

The Concertación tried to make much of the fact that Sebastián Piñera's approval ratings, at 45%, were the lowest that any president since 1990 has received at this point in his, or her, administration. But not by much. The fact is, besides Aylwin, who took over in extraordinary circumstances, the others have all been in the ballpark.

The Concertación, in looking for the silver linings, also points out the stratospheric approval of Michelle Bachelet. But Ricardo Lagos was also pretty popular in the first CEP poll after he left office. And Bachelet's high approval will only contribute further to making her a juicy target for the government, trying to burst the bubble as they did successfully with Lagos. It won't be pretty, but I doubt it will work. It's like trying to dis Mandela. Who ends up looking bad?

I think that if the Concertación wishes to find some silver linings, it's actually to be found in the small print. For example, when asked 'Who is to blame for the bad economy' (besides the fact that it's a strange question -- the CEP thinks that the economy is in bad shape?), the number one answer is the current government. Not the previous government.

Oooooooo. That's gotta hurt.

In fact, for voters to blame the current lot of economists, MBAs and businessmen, who got elected on the basis of their expertise in these matters, who tout efficiency like IBM used to tout 'think', is a really bad sign for the government. It goes to the heart of their discourse, in the same way as the recent CASEN poll went to the heart of what the Bachelet government was all about.

That's where the silver lining lies, and what the Concertación should be exploiting. But they're not, becuase their heads are too far up their [insert appropriate body part here].

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