“Power wears out only those who don’t have it.” This quote from Italian politician Giulio Andreotti is often used in Argentine politics, especially now that the Victory Front (FpV) no longer occupies the Casa Rosada and the other Peronist parties can’t seem to find a banner-bearer to rally behind. This almost prophetic prose can also be applied to President Mauricio Macri and company since, according to a poll by Management & Fit consultancy published in Clarín on Sunday, more people disapprove of how he is doing as president than approve of his performance for the first time since he took office.
The poll informed that 44.2 percent of the people consulted disapprove of the job Macri is doing, compared to the 40.2 percent who report being satisfied with his performance. However, it’s common for a president’s disapproval rating to grow with time. This is not a uniquely Argentine phenomenon — in late January, the U.S. media widely covered the fact that Donald Trump’s disapproval rating hit 50 percent in record time while also showing how much longer it took other recent US presidents to hit that mark.
In a political environment as volatile as the one in Argentina, the way people perceive Macri and his administration will have a massive impact on the outcome of next October’s midterm elections. Government representatives are going on record saying that the long-awaited economic recovery will arrive in time to effect the elections, and that numbers will bring voters back in.
This could be overly optimistic if this latest poll is anything to go by with some 48 percent of Argentines reporting that they think the economy will get worse over coming months, compared to 27 percent who think it will get better. “In economic terms, the variable that measures people’s perception of the future of their personal income and of the overall employment situation were the most affected, with drops of 1.7 and 1.2 percent [compared to last week’s numbers], respectively.” This drop is thought to be a result of the latest report by the Indec statistics agency, which showed that the unemployment rate in Argentina fell, but it was mainly because fewer people are actively looking for a job.
- Read more: Indec: Unemployment Rate Drops 0.9 Percent, But Mainly Because Fewer People Are Looking For A Job
The numerous conflicts with different sectors of society — teachers, unions and social groups — as well as the self-inflicted “political errors” such as the “Correo Scandal,” aren’t helping. When it comes to political perception, all of Macri’s indicators dropped by more than 0.5 percent compared to last week, according to this poll of 2,000 people, conducted between March 11 and 17. That expected recovery can’t come soon enough.