Despite widespread fears and warnings about the potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Argentina's economy, a large majority of citizens approve of President Alberto Fernández’s handling of the crisis situation, surveys show.
On Thursday, Casa Rosada sources confirmed to Perfil that the national lockdown will likely be extended until April 12 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. To date, there have been more 600 confirmed Covid-19 infections in Argentina, with 13 fatalities.
Recent polling suggests Peronist leader's measures to halt the virus – which are stricter than in many other nations – have created glimmers of optimism among porteños, in the face of growing fears.
“More than half of citizens are optimistic about the possibility of containing the progression of the virus in the country, without arriving at the dramatic situations seen in other parts of the world,” read one report released this week by the D’Alessio International and Berensztein research firms, which probed the impact of the outbreak on Argentine daily life.
The sentiment is mirrored in other surveys conducted over the past two weeks. According to the Analogías consultancy firm, more than 60 percent of Argentina's population believe the situation will improve over the next month.
Approval of Alberto
Across three recent surveys, nationwide approval of President Fernández is high and improving, especially in regards to actions taken to fight coronavirus.
Analogías reported a 79.2 percent approval rate for the Frente de Todos leader, with 93.8 percent reporting they hold a positive image of him.
“The levels of approval on the government’s action against the dangers of the pandemic are unprecedentedly high,” the survey concludes, reporting that 94.7 percent of citizens agree with the measures taken by the government.
These views were corroborated by a Management & Fit survey, which found that 91.7 percent of people approve of the president’s handling of the crisis to date. The rating holds true, regardless of political persuasion – even among those who backed opposition leader Mauricio Macri in the last election, 87.7 percent approve of Fernández’s work in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
Notably, 67.9 percent of people believe that the government has responded better than the governments of other affected countries to the threat, with 21.9 percent of respondents assessing that the work of the Fernández administration has been on a par with that of other nations, according to Management & Fit.
On the whole, “the health emergency experienced in the country, together with the consequent measures to slow the advance of the coronavirus taken by the president, Alberto Fernández, have had a marked impact on his positive image, with an increase compared to the previous month,” the D’Alessio-Berensztein study said.
Although most of those polled say they back the government's handling of the crisis, worries about Argentina's healthcare system and the state of the economy moving forward remain elevated.
According to Analogías, almost 9 out of 10 people believe that the pandemic will have a negative effect on the economy, which has been gripped by recession for the last two years. What’s more, 75 percent of those quizzed said they believed the negative impact would not be truly felt for months, according to Management & Fit.
Argentina's heavy debt burden and the government's restructuring efforts also weigh heavy on the mind – 81.8 percent think that the government should postpone debt repayments until further notice, according to Analogías.
Beyond the economy, respondents also expressed concerns over whether the nation's healthcare sentence is equipped to face the crisis. Some 72 percent of those quizzed by Management & Fit believe that the health system is unprepared.
In the face of concern around the healthcare system and the crisis in general, Argentines are doing their part to help fight the spread of coronavirus. Over 95 percent say that they and those around them are respecting the quarantine and health recommendations, found Analogías.
The myriad of concerns surrounding the global pandemic has manifested into an informed citizenship, data also shows. Management & Fit found that close to 70 percent of Argentines are following the progression of the issue continuously, while 27 percent say they are updating themselves once a day.