At the end of each year, the public opinion researchers at the University of Central America release their wide-ranging poll of Salvadorans' views on their country and their government. You can read the entire poll results here. Some of the highlights:
With respect to the issue of crime,
- 65% of Salvadorans believe that crime is the biggest problem facing the country, while 30% believe the biggest problem is the economy.
- 76% believe crime increased in the past year.
- 22.5% of Salvadorans said they had been the direct victim of a crime in the past 12 months.
Civil society organizations and bloggers may be concerned about the increasing use of armed troops on El Salvador's streets, but it remains politically popular. Although they believe that crime worsened this year, 59% of Salvadorans say that the presence of troops in the streets is contributing to reduce crime some or a a lot.
When asked in which institutions in society they place confidence, the Catholic church is trusted by 39% of Salvadorans, followed by protestant churches at 37%, and followed next by the armed forces at 37%. The least trusted institutions were the political parties, the National Assembly and the Supreme Court.
President Mauricio Funes standing has dropped steadily over the last two years from 73% of Salvadorans saying he was doing a good job in November 2009 to a low of 42% in November 2011. (A CID-Gallup poll cited this week by Mike at the Central American Politics blog has different numbers with Funes getting a 57% approval rating, higher than any other president in the region).
In the upcoming March 2009 elections for mayors and legislators, ARENA and the FMLN have their usual base of between 24-28%, and this year the GANA party is polling between 8-10%.
The national government got high marks for its response to the flooding disasters of October, with 81% of Salvadorans ranking the response as good or very good.