April 29, 2006

Approval Ratings

MABB © ®

At the risk of being redundant, I include the graphs La Razón published abut the latest results of the popularity contest in Bolivian politics. There is a marked descent of the approval for President Morales, and a slight drop on Garcia Linera's popularity.

This is a fluctuation over the last three moths. Now, I don't know much about polls, but it seems to me that a change like in the case of Morales' is not too significant. Three months is a very short time. Who knows, in the next two months it could be jumping 40 points. Judging for what we can see here.

However, if these polls have some effect on the population, can we expect the approval rating of Morales continue its downward trend? The potential implications for his plans to design a "new" Bolivia could end up truncated. That is, if these numbers translate into votes.

But, once again, as we've seen in the last elections, these polls don't really give a relatively accurate picture. It could be that Morales' poll numbers go down, but his votes en up giving his party a majority in the assembly. Main point, who knows!

To continue on the last point, the Parliament has taken up two issues relevant for the coming Constituent Assembly (CA). The one issue is that of the "depurados" or people who for one reason or another were disqualified to vote. The government wants to issue a "one time" general amnesty for all the disqualified to allow them to vote in the CA. The opposition (Podemos, UN and MNR) in the Senate have expressed their intentio to block that measure because they argue doing so would open the doors to very questionable results. The vote is still coming, but as of now, it looks like the "depurados" will stay out of the voting places.

The other issue is that of state campaign financing. The government wants to do away with it, with the motto: "unnecessary spending". Of course, the MAS relies on contributions from their bases (i.e. member organizations). So they say! The opposition parties are left in the cold because the main bulk of their financing comes from the state. So they are putting up a fight in Congress. The issue is not resolved yet, but it seems that state campaign financing will continue, albeit with less money. For now, the number being thrown around is half of the previous sum (Bs. 57 million).