Approval ratings for Peru's Garcia hit new low
September 21, 2008 - Reuters

LIMA, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Peruvian President Alan Garcia's approval ratings continued sinking in September to reach a new low for his current term of 19 percent, as inflation takes a growing political toll, Peru's top polling firm said on Sunday.

The leader's approval rating fell 3 percentage points from August and has shed 16 points since May, according to the nationwide poll by Ipsos Apoyo published in El Comercio newspaper.

The survey showed that 69 percent of Peruvians polled are unhappy with Garcia because of price rises and 43 percent accused the president of breaking his promises.

Peru's inflation rate was 6.27 percent in the 12 months through August, or twice the government's annual target.

Garcia, a former leftist who is now a fervent believer in free markets, has blamed inflation mainly on higher global prices for food and crude oil.

During Garcia's first presidency from 1985 to 1990, Peru suffered one of its worst economic crises, accompanied by hyperinflation.

In contrast, the economy grew 9 percent last year due to high prices for the country's exports and robust growth in domestic demand. But many Peruvians complain that seven years of economic growth have not trickled down to the poor.

The Ipsos Apoyo poll of about 1,000 city dwellers was carried out from Sept. 16 to Sept. 19. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percent.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Hilary Burke; Editing by Eric Walsh)