A recent poll by the University of Central America, provides an insight into the pessimism most Salvadorans have about the situation facing their country and the government's efforts to deal with it.
What are the principal problems facing the country?
Crime -- 47%
Poverty -- 14.9%
Unemployment -- 11.6%
Economy -- 9.1%
Gangs -- 6.3%
Dollarization -- 2.7%
High cost of living -- 2%
Corruption -- 1.5%
The dominance of crime in the results is not surprising considering that more than 18% of respondents said they had been a direct victim of violent crime during 2006.
The population's concerns about the direction of the country are directly impacting the approval ratings of president Tony Saca, who is now receiving the lowest ratings of his administration (5.67 on a 10 point scale), and 44.8% of Salvadorans believe he is governing poorly compared to only 30.8% who believe he is governing well.
The poll also asked respondents to indicate which institutions and national actors they place much confidence in. Churches fare well, politicians do not:
Catholic Church 42.6%
Evangelical Church 33.1%
Local government 25.2%
Armed Forces 23.8%
Human Rights Counsel (PDDH) 20.5%
National Police 18.4%
Secretary of Youth 18.4%
Central Government 15.6%
Attorney General of the Republic 11.2%
Supreme Electoral Tribunal 10.0%
Legislative Assembly 8.0%
Prosecutor General of the Republic 7.3%
Supreme Judicial Court 7.3%
Political parties 5.6%