Uruguay: Lacalle’s popularity wanes after Astesiano and Peña scandals, poll shows
Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou’s popularity sank deeply in the last few weeks after a series of scandals became public, particularly those involving his chief security officer Alejandro Astesiano and former Environment Minister Adrián Peña’s lack of a college degree despite which he used the prefix “Lic.” indicating otherwise.
According to an Usina de Percepción Ciudadana poll, 53% of Uruguayans have a negative opinion of President Lacalle Pou regarding the so-called Astesiano case in which the official was involved in the irregular issuance of Uruguayan passports to Russian nationals.
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Usina de Percepción Ciudadana published a survey carried out between Feb. 3 and 7 in which respondents were asked about the incidence of the Astesiano case in the valuation of the president, and 53% answered negatively, 6% positively, 37% neither positively nor negatively and 4% did not know or answer.
The pollsters also asked the citizenry if they considered that Lacalle Pou had or did not have [any] knowledge of Astesiano’s previous criminal activity when he appointed him to the position, to which 40% of Uruguayans believed he had total knowledge, 25% partial knowledge, 27% said he had no knowledge and 8% did not know or answer.
Regarding the level of agreement or disagreement with the statement that the President of the Republic Luis Lacalle Pou is the main responsible for what happened in the Executive Tower about the case of Alejandro Astesiano, 26% strongly agree, 23% agree, 19% neither agree nor disagree, 20% disagree and 8% strongly disagree, in addition to 4% not knowing or answering.
About Astesiano’s monitoring of labor union PIT-CNT leader Marcelo Abdala, respondents were asked if they believed such a move affected the government’s image: 40% answered that it did very negatively, 26% negatively, 29% said it does not affect, 2% said it did positively, 1% very positively, and 2% either did not know or answer.
Respondents were also asked about the Peña scandal, with 27% of Uruguayans saying the minister’s error was very important, 23% somewhat important, 27% neither important nor unimportant, 14% not very important and 8% very unimportant, with only 1% not knowing or answering.
Regarding Peña’s possible return to his Senate seat after the scandal broke out, 23% strongly disagreed, 28% disagreed, 19% neither agreed nor disagreed, 16% agreed and 10% strongly agreed, while 4% did not know or answer.
The survey was conducted between Feb. 3 and 7, 2023, among 400 people over 18 years of age. The sample was selected based on gender and age strata, based on population projections from the National Institute of Statistics. Responses were collected through automated question-and-answer protocols via Whatsapp and monitored through phone calls.