Peru's president rises sharply in poll after quake
( Reuters ) - President Alan Garcia's approval rating rose sharply in September after falling for months as voters gave him high marks for trying to swiftly respond to a devastating earthquake in August, according to a poll released on Sunday.
Garcia, a former leftist who has moved to the political center, rose nine percentage points to 44 percent in the nationwide survey by polling firm Ipsos Apoyo. It was the biggest jump of his presidency.
More than 500 people died and 60,000 homes were destroyed when a devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck Peru's central coast on August 15.
Hours after the quake, Garcia addressed Peruvians on radio and TV, and spent much of the following week running his government from makeshift offices in Pisco, the hardest hit city.
"Alan Garcia emerges as the principal political beneficiary of the tragedy," Alfredo Torres, director of the poll, said in the El Comercio newspaper.
Though 58 percent of respondents in the latest poll said they liked how he handled the quake, people who lost their homes in Pisco complained aid was slow to arrive or poorly distributed. Thousands of people are still camped out waiting to rebuild their homes.
Garcia's approval rating had suffered since taking office. In August 2006, a month into his term, Garcia's approval rating was 63 percent. It was 35 percent in Ipsos Apoyo's August 2007 poll, near the lowest level of his term.
The latest poll, which had 1,005 respondents, was conducted Sep. 12-14 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.