According to Cedatos-Gallup, Ecuador’s largest public polling organization, President Rafael Correa’s approval rating has fallen to 33%, the lowest of his 10-year presidency. The poll also shows that 75% of population believes the country’s economy has been mismanaged.
In a head-to-head presidential contest with Guayaquil banker Guillermo Lasso, Cedatos-Gallup shows Correa losing by three percentage points, 32.4% to 29.5%. In another poll, conducted by University of San Francisco, Lenin Moreno of Correa’s Alianza País party, runs between five and seven points ahead of Correa against Lasso and other opposition candidates.
Although Correa insists he does not plan to run again, he hinted two weeks ago that he might reconsider if opposition candidates continue so spread what he calls “negativity and malicious lies.”
“The numbers are part of a trend that began when the president won his last election, in 2013,” says Quito political consultant Paúl Ramirez. “Much of the decline can be blamed on the poor economy but it is also part of the dissatisfaction with what the public considers the unnecessary growth and centralization of government, higher prices due to import tariffs, and higher taxes.” He adds that a majority of the population opposed an increase in inheritance and capital gains taxes that Correa proposed and then withdrew in 2015.
Of poll respondents, 66% said they believed that the country was on the “wrong track,” the same percentage that said it was on the right track in 2007, seven months after Correa took office. When asked about Correa’s Citizen’s Revolution and his vision of 21st century socialism, 53% disapproved while 39% approved.
Correa presented his own poll, showing vastly different results, during his weekly television address on Saturday. It reported that 63% of respondents supported his government while 36% opposed it. “That was not a credible poll,” says Ramirez. “It was paid for by Alianza País and provided the numbers they wanted.”
In addition to Lasso, other major party candidates who have announced their candidacy are National Assemblywoman Cynthia Viteri and former president Lucio Gutierrez. País will announce its candidate in October, expected to be Moreno or Vice President Jorge Glas, unless Correa decides to run again.
The Cedatos-Gallup poll surveyed 2,120 people in 15 cities. The University of San Francisco poll interviewed 790 people in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca.