Puerto Ricans are extremely unhappy and pessimistic. A scientific poll taken February 19-24 found very negative views regarding: conditions in the territory; their personal finances and the insular government’s; and the Commonwealth’s leaders.
A staggering 93% regarded the territorial situation as very bad. The quality of life was bad to terrible for 45% versus 16% who said it was good. Thirty percent said that it was bad to terrible and 24% said it was good in a poll less than two years ago.
The economy will be worse next year, according to 81%, with 54% expecting that their personal finances will be worse and 48% reporting that their current finances are worse than last year’s. Only 11% think that they will be better off next year, with 40% saying they are in better financial shape than last year.
Four-fifths of those surveyed recognize the downgrade of the Government of Puerto Rico’s credit to ‘junk’ status as a major problem vs. 47% last November. Fully 87% said that it would affect their lives compared with only seven percent who said that it would not, and 67% who said that it would three months before.
One-fifth estimate that it will take more than a decade to restore the Commonwealth’s credit to investment grade; 15% guessed seven to nine years; another fifth, five to six years, 18%, three to four years, with only eight percent seeing the territory being creditworthy in one to two years and one percent believing that the improvement will occur in less than a year.
A majority, 52%, disapproves of the 14-month old “Commonwealth” party administration’s handling of the situation. Only one quarter approve.
Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla was graded “A” or “B” by only 18% of voters polled. Another 52% disapproved of his leadership, while less than a quarter 24% approved of it.
Fellow party member Eduardo Bhatia, the Senate President who is thought to want to succeed Garcia, did not really fare better with the voters when the poll’s margin of error is considered. Only 22% gave him an “A” or a “B,” and he got a “D” or an “F” from 47%.
Further, 55% answered that he had little or no credibility. House Speaker Jaime Perello was not trusted by the same percentage.
Perello’s grades were worse: 15% gave him and “A” or a “B” and 51% a “D” or an “F.” His job performance was worse than expected by 46%.
Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner in Washington, DC, Pedro Pierluisi, who heads the territory’s statehood party and was the highest vote getter in the last elections, continues to score better with the voters in polling than the ‘commonwealthers.’
His job performance has been as expected to 43% but worse for 33%. Thirty-one percent approved of his job performance and 39% disapproved.
Garcia, with very poor marks from voters was the only one of the officials whose public standing improved since the poll a few months ago, although the improvement was minor.
One thousand voters were surveyed for El Nuevo Dia newspaper by professional polling firms.