New Data Favors FMLN in 2014, Shows Positive Impressions of Funes Administration
A new poll by the Jesuit Central American University (UCA) gives a significant advantage to the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party and its presidential candidate for the upcoming February 2014 elections, current Vice President Salvador Sánchez Cerén.
The poll, published on Tuesday, May 28th, found that 36% of Salvadorans intend to vote for Sánchez Cerén, with 28% voting for right-wing “Unity” coalition candidate, former President Tony Saca, and 24.9% for right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party candidate, Norman Quijano. When asked about political party preference, 44.1% said they would vote for the FMLN, 25% for ARENA and 12.9% for GANA, Tony Saca’s party.
The poll also demonstrated positive public perceptions of the first four years of FMLN governance, showing 46% of the population believed government’s policies favored the nation’s poor, and that 83.9% thought opportunities for women had improved thanks to government social programs like the Ciudad Mujer free women’s services centers.
This positive evaluation comes on the heels of new data collected by the national census institution of the Ministry of Economy showing there are 300,000 fewer Salvadorans living in poverty than in 2008; between 2011 and 2012, poverty dropped from 40.55% to 34.50%, a reduction of 6.05%. The study placed the current average national monthly income at $506.91, compared to $486.67 in 2011. Furthermore, the survey found that national unemployment has fallen to 6.07%, one of the lowest figures in the last 12 years.
This official report contradicts the findings of a report published at the beginning of the year by the conservative think tank FUSADES that concluded that poverty was on the rise, leading President Mauricio Funes to denounce the “political intentions” of the FUSADES study. Indeed, the right-wing media are making every effort to distort the positive results in an ongoing campaign to paint a tarnished image of the first FMLN administration: an article published in the conservative national newspaper La Prensa Gráfica on May 22nd that ran with the headline, “Poverty fell to 34.% in 2012, according to a survey of homes” was republished on the paper’s website on May 23rd with the title: “Home survey: 34% of Salvadorans are poor.”
Nevertheless, all recent data shows that the population has a positive evaluation of the leftist administration. A CID-GALLUP poll published today shows a 67% approval rate for the Funes government, and also gives the FMLN an edge over its competitors ahead of the upcoming elections.