Photo via Ambito

If you ask Argentine people what they think of the most important institutions of the country, the last word that you will usually hear is “trust,” unless it’s preceded by “I don’t,” and followed by “it at all.”

A poll conducted by Taquión and published today confirmed exactly that. The vast majority of Argentines has a negative image of all public institutions, and an even worse one of unions, the only included one that is not part of the state. In contrast, families have an overwhelmingly positive image.

Let’s dissect the figures.

Unions are the institution that Argentines like the least. By far. The study showed that a whopping 71.8 percent of people polled doesn’t trust the institution which, at least on paper, they should trust the most, considering that they claim to defend the workers’ rights. Only 8.1 percent of the people said they actually like them, meaning that unions have the highest negative image and the smallest positive one of them all. Quite the record.

The unions’ woes don’t end there. They were also the institution that saw the sharpest drop in its image during the last year: 14.5 percent. This could have had to do with different factors: corruption scandals at its highest spheres, a lack of clear leadership – which led to numerous and strong internal power struggles – and fights between representatives of different unions during marches and protests, as well as these demonstrations themselves.


Moreover, representatives of the largest unions have flip flopped in the opinions they have expressed in public and their way of dealing with the government several times since the Macri administration took office. The example that illustrates this the most is the fact that, during the last march on August 22, the only member of the CGT triumvirate present at the event, Juan Carlos Schmid, assured that union leaders were going to get together and set a date for a general strike. However, most leaders met with Labor Minister Jorge Triaca a few days later. The initiative wasn’t discussed ever since.

Out of the three branches of government, Argentines dislike the Judicial the most. With a negative image of 64.3 percent and a positive one of only 11.7, the numbers make it clear that people are not happy with the way in which judges and prosecutors are doing their jobs. The extremely low pace of investigations and cases in general, and the lack of relevant sentences compared to the immense number of public officials who have been charged and indicted may have had to do with this.

The Legislative branch follows suit. It has a negative image of 50.3 percent, while its positive one only clocks in at 23.4 percent. Even worse news for the legislators is the fact that the percentage of people who don’t like them increased by 13.1 percent in only a year, likely because Congress has been virtually paralyzed during 2017 – as most parties and politicians are solely focused on October’s midterm elections – and has barely held any sessions.

Even though it has a positive image of 41.4 percent and a negative one of 43.2 percent, the Executive branch can smile a bit when looking at these figures. The number of polled people who trust the Macri administration increased by 7.3 percent this year, while those who don’t reduced by 0.2 percent.

Police and security forces – army and border patrol – are in a similar scenario. The police was the least trusted institution last year with a 8.8 percent of positive image, but the number increased to 18.9 percent in 2017. Army and Border Patrol, on their end, saw their positive image increase by 13.1 percent in the same time period, from 26 to 39.1 percent.

As mentioned, the only institution that Argentines trust the most has nothing to do with the state: it’s the family. 83.6 percent of people polled claimed to trust their families, while only 8.7 percent claimed otherwise. Maybe the other institutions should start having asados on Sundays – they could start functioning in a way that makes Argentines trust someone or something other than their families. And friends, probably.