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New Peruvian leader still popular

Humala still has something to smile about

Approval ratings for Peruvian president Ollanta Humala declined 3% in October but remained at a relatively high 62% as the new head of state nears the end of his first 100 days in office, according to a poll by firm Ipsos Apoyo.

The numbers seem to indicate that Humala’s center-left policies and promises to reach out to the poor while re-establishing investor confidence are giving fruit.

The retired military officer is approved of by 59% of Peru’s richest voters and 56% of the poorest, which his popularity among the middle class is running over 60%.  The survey, published in the daily newspaper El Comercio, indicated that voters believe Humala to be following through on his campaign promises and fight against corruption.  Before elected, he had promised new social programs to support the one-third of Peru’s populace that lives in poverty.

Some programs are already taking effect, including an increase in the minimum wage.  Others, such as a pension for those over 65, will begin before the end of the year in some parts of the country.

Humala obtained congressional approval to raise bonuses and taxes in the mining industry, which accounts for 60% of Peru’s exports.  Analysts say the challenges of a battered global economy will continue to be a challenge for his economic goals during the coming year.

The remaining 22% of those polled who disapprove of Humala’s performance has increased by 4% from the prior poll.  The latest study, conducted among 1,200 people from October 12-14, has a 2.8% margin of error.