President’s public rating drops to minus 80 – Poll

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According to the Institute for Health Policy’s (IHP) Sri Lanka Opinion Tracker Survey (SLOTS) poll showed that local public rating of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has dropped to  minus 80 compared to +50 in 2021.

“The current economic crisis is resulting in widespread public disapproval of all politicians. Public dislike of politicians in both government and opposition has fallen to its lowest levels in the IHP SLOTS opinion survey. Worst affected is the President  whose personal favourability ratings have slumped from a high +50 during the August-September 2021 lockdown to -80 in April 2022. In contrast, Premadasa’s favourability ratings were often negative. But in the last two months this has changed. The President’s favourability ratings have cratered,” the local survey points out.

The IHP SLOTS poll has been tracking favourability of politicians and selected institutions since September 2021. From then until January 2022, President Rajapaksa maintained high favourability ratings with the public. President Rajapaksa’s net favourability fell from +20 during February to below -80 during the first three weeks of April, meaning that for every member of the public who has a favourable opinion about him, there are now nine others who say they have an unfavourable opinion. This decline in favourability has been faster and more extensive than most other politicians. During March-April, the President’s favourability rating (-40) fell below those of both Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa (-33) and Premadasa (-26).

The largest declines in the President’s favourability have been amongst the poor, women, urban and Sinhala adults. Amongst the poorest one third of Sri Lankans, the President has much more negative favourability ratings (-63) than Premadasa whose ratings are only modestly negative (-6). In the case of women, the President has lost the edge in favourability that he long enjoyed over Premadasa. Women view both unfavourably now, but the President (minus 42) more than the Opposition Leader (minus 27). Premadasa’s modest decline in favourability was less concentrated, although his favourability with women also fell significantly, albeit less than the President.

The drop in favourability has affected all politicians, including Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, previously the most popular Minister in the SLOTS survey. Favourability ratings also declined for UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and even more for JVP leader, Anura Dissanayake.

In contrast, favourability ratings of State institutions and other organisations, including the Ministry of Health, the Armed Forces, and the GMOA have slightly declined indicating that public disapproval is specifically of politicians.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan