World

Before Protests, Ecuador's President More Popular Than Police

by Cynthia English and Julie Ray

A strong majority approve of President Correa's job performance

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Clashes between Ecuador's police and President Rafael Correa Thursday once again raise questions about the stability of the country's leadership and institutions. Prior to the violent uprising and Correa's military rescue from police protesters, Ecuadorians were much more likely to approve of the president's job performance than to express confidence in the local police, the military, or the national government.

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Correa's presidency to this point has been a relative respite in Ecuador's long history of political instability. While it's too soon to know how the still-unfolding situation will affect public opinion, a Gallup survey conducted in July-August revealed that despite a slight decline, Correa's job approval remained high relative to confidence in the police. Confidence in the local police forces has been relatively steady at about 40% since 2008.

However, discontent with the national government is evident in the 11-percentage-point drop in Ecuadorians' confidence within the last year. About half of Ecuadorians at the time of the survey were confident in the military, which stormed a hospital to rescue the president after he was injured in the protests.

Johanna Godoy and Jesus Rios contributed to this story.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone/face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults in Ecuador, aged 15 and older, conducted in Aug. 11-Sept. 5, 2008, July 12-Sept. 1, 2009, and July 1-Aug. 10, 2010. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error in 2009 ranged from a low of ±3.5 percentage points in 2008, ±3.6 percentage points in 2009, and ±4.0 percentage points in 2010. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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