Peru's Humala approval rating ticks up on social spending

LIMA Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:00am EST

Peru's President Ollanta Humala talks to foreign journalists during a conference at the government palace in Lima, September 12, 2012. REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil

Peru's President Ollanta Humala talks to foreign journalists during a conference at the government palace in Lima, September 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Enrique Castro-Mendivil

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LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian President Ollanta Humala's approval rating rose to a five-month high in November, chiefly buoyed by his emphasis on social programs, an opinion poll showed on Sunday.

Humala's popularity climbed 3 percentage points to 43 percent after holding steady for four straight months, according to the Ipsos Apoyo survey.

The former military leader's popularity tumbled earlier this year over his handling of increasingly violent social conflicts, mostly surrounding the country's key mining industry.

Humala promises greater equality, setting a goal of cutting the poverty rate to 15 percent during his term. He has started to roll out a minimum pension for all Peruvians over age 65, plans to raise the minimum wage a second time and is expanding a program of cash transfers to poor families.

"Of those polled, those who approve of Humala said they chiefly backed him because he is working on social programs for the poorest and he is implementing change to better the country," Ipsos Apoyo said. "Those who reject his management said they do so due to lack of security and because prices are rising."

Humala's approval rating was 45 percent in June and 50 percent in May, according to Ipsos Apoyo. He took office in July 2011 last year on pledges to include the 30 percent of Peruvians living in poverty in a decade-long economic boom, but mediating social conflicts has become his biggest challenge.

Sunday's opinion survey, which was published in the El Comercio newspaper, polled 1,204 people between Wednesday and Friday. It has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

(Reporting By Omar Mariluz. Writing by Alexandra Ulmer.)

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