Tuesday, 8 March 2011

It ain't the economy, stupid

An Adimark poll released last week showed that the Piñera government's support has not fallen, but seems to have stabilized in the low forties. This suggests two things -- first, that the high point a few months back was really a bit of a honeymoon based on the dramatic rescue of the 33 miners, and second, that for all its antics, its spending, its support in the media, the government has been unable to win new support. The right maintains 40-45% of the vote, which is pretty much the percentage Pinochet achieved in 1988. In this respect, the numbers are not so interesting.

Except that they come at a time of falling unemployment and high growth rates. Go to any restaurant, any mall, and people are busy buying flat screen TVs, iPads and new cars. It is estimated that 200,000 new cars were introduced to Santiago roads last year. And most of them are driving to work at the same time as me.

So what's going on? One possibility is that people are adjusting their expectations. That's what this latest poll shows. They were hoping for change, and got more of the same. Americans might be able to relate. Unlike the US, however, about 70% of those polled say that the previous administration -- Michelle Bachelet's -- was better. This will drive President Piñera bonkers.


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