Gustavo Petro’s approval rating drops to lowest point yet at 30%

By May 8, 2023

Medellín, Colombia — Colombia President Gustavo Petro’s approval rating has fallen to 30%, according to a new poll released Monday by Opinómetro. The survey, released by Datexco Company S.A. and the Colombian radio station W Radio, measures the satisfaction level of Colombians with the government and with President Petro. 

The survey polled 700 people by phone, spanning various municipalities throughout Colombia. Respondents were asked whether or not they approve of President Petro’s management of the country. 

The results showed a high level of dissatisfaction, with disapproval at 61% and approval at only 30%. This gap between the two is greater than ever before during Petro’s administration. 

Graph courtesy of Opinómetro.

A closer look reveals that the region with the highest level of disapproval was the eastern region of the country, with 72% of respondents expressing dissatisfaction. This was followed by Bogotá (65%), the central region (64%), the Caribbean region (52%), and the Pacific region (48%). 

What’s gone wrong?

One issue that the survey focused on was the famous “balconazo,” typical of President Petro’s speeches. It is Petro’s trademark manner of addressing the public, speaking from the balcony of the Casa de Nariño, the presidential palace. More than half of those surveyed (58%) expressed dissatisfaction with the way he delivers his speeches, while 31% said they liked it. 

Petro’s Labour Day speech. Image courtesy of @CarlosA15148433 on Twitter.

In a speech on May 1, Labour Day in Colombia, Petro called for “social mobilization,” comparing himself to South American independence leader Simón Bolívar, as well as the ex-leaders of the Colombian liberal party, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán and Alfonso López Pumarejo, claiming that attempts to curtail his reforms “could lead to a revolution.” 

The survey also addressed the recent change in ministers that occurred after the president’s disagreement with some officials and parties on the government backbench. The majority of those surveyed (51%) expressed discomfort with the departure of the former ministers, while 31% were happy with the changes. 

President Petro requested the resignation of his ministers in Colombia a fortnight ago, following the adjournment of a debate on a controversial health reform bill due to lack of quorum. 

In less than 24 hours, the president announced the change of seven ministers, including the head of the Ministry of Health and the Minister of Finance, citing “the decision of some party presidents” as the reason for the ending coalition. He added, “Some of them threaten the majority of their own bench.”

The eastern region and Bogotá were the most unhappy with the president’s decision, with 57% disagreeing, while the Caribbean region had the lowest level of dissatisfaction, at 35%.

The decline in the president’s approval rating comes after several weeks of criticism and disagreement on various issues in the country. 

Additionally, the president’s disagreement with the Attorney General’s Office, particularly its leader, Francisco Barbosa, over the institution’s failure to prevent murders in the Colombian Caribbean region at the hands of drug trafficking organization, the Gulf Clan, has also sparked controversy.