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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05SANJOSE1787 2005-08-08 21:07:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy San Jose
Cable title:  

UNIMER POLL SHOWS STEADY SUPPORT FOR CAFTA-DR IN

Tags:   ETRD ECPS ECON PREL PGOV SOCI CS 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SAN JOSE 001787 

SIPDIS

WHA/CEN
EB FOR WCRAFT
E FOR TSMITHAM
WHA FOR WMIELE
WHA/EPSC FOR KURS
INR/R/AA FOR SBIRD
H FOR JHAGAN
STATE PASS TO USTR FOR JYOUNG, CPADILLA, AMALITO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECPS ECON PREL PGOV SOCI CS
SUBJECT: UNIMER POLL SHOWS STEADY SUPPORT FOR CAFTA-DR IN
COSTA RICA

REF: (A) SAN JOSE 01601

(B) SAN JOSE 01073



1. Summary. As compared to a June 2005 poll conducted by
UNIMER (Ref A), a similarly conducted August 2005 poll
shows knowledge of and support for the U.S.-Central
American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR)
remains strong and steady. UNIMER has been conducting
similar polls since May 2005 for the pro-CAFTA-DR, Costa
Rican-business-backed organization Por Costa Rica, whose
representatives have made the information available to
Post. Although generally positive toward CAFTA-DR, when
compared with the July 2005 poll results, there have been
some slight decreases in positive views towards CAFTA-DR,
all within the stated statistical margin of error. The
Costa Rican media coverage of the poll results has focused
on the generally increasing trends of positive views
towards CAFTA-DR and the opening of the telecommunications
and insurance markets, which would be required under CAFTA-
DR. End Summary.



2. In the latest poll, those stating that they have at
least some knowledge of CAFTA-DR remained statistically
steady, as compared to the June 2005 poll (Ref A), at
almost 75 percent. Those stating that they knew little or
nothing about the agreement was steady at approximately 25
percent. Those believing that CAFTA-DR should be approved
by the Legislative Assembly remained steady at
approximately 60 percent, and those believing that it
should be rejected was about 26 percent. Those responding
that they didn't know what the Assembly should do increased
from 11.6 percent to 13.6 percent. Most notable, more than
three quarters (76.8 percent) of those surveyed believe
that President Pacheco should send the agreement to the
Legislative Assembly.



3. The U.S. House of Representatives passed and President
Bush signed the CAFTA-DR implementing legislation in late
July 2005. Media coverage of the events in the U.S. was
intense in Costa Rica. Comparing the July 2005 and August
2005 poll results taken by UNIMER after the approval of
CAFTA-DR in the U.S., Post found the following: Levels of
knowledge about CAFTA-DR remained statistically steady with
about three-fourths claiming to know something or a lot.
Where there is a slightly larger difference when comparing
the July and August results is in the response as to
whether the perceived effects of CAFTA-DR are good or very
good. This number decreased from 59 percent in July to
53.8 percent in August. Those responding that they
perceive the effects to be bad or very bad increased from
17.8 percent in July to 19.8 percent in August, and those
responding that the effects will be neutral increased from
23.3 percent in July to 26.4 percent in August.



4. When comparing the results of the polls taken in May
and August, it is clear that there is a general positive
trend regarding support for CAFTA-DR in Costa Rica. Even
more, there is a majority of respondents who believe: (1)
CAFTA-DR should be sent to the Legislative Assembly, (2)
the Assembly should approve it, and (3) the effects of
implementing CAFTA-DR will be positive.



5. Like the previously conducted polls, the August poll
also showed that a majority of Costa Ricans are in favor of
allowing competition in the mobile telecommunications and
insurance industries (more than 3 to 1 in favor of such
actions). NOTE: The gradual opening of these markets to
private sector competition is a requirement of CAFTA-DR.



6. The polls were conducted via telephone interviews of
500 persons. The stated margin of error is 6.2 percent
when comparing the different polling samples with a 95
percent confidence level. Participants in the August 2005
poll were between the ages 18 and 65 with an equal number
of men and women. Similar to the other polls performed by
UNIMER for Por Costa Rica, the largest age group
represented was the 30 to 39-year-olds (27 percent of the
respondents) followed by the 18 to 24-year-olds (22
percent), 40 to 49-year-olds (20 percent), 50 to 65-year-
olds (18 percent), and the 25 to 29-year-olds (13 percent).
Respondents live in urban as well as rural areas. No
information was given regarding the educational backgrounds
of respondents as was given for the June 2005 poll.



8. Comment. The polling method, i.e., the use of
telephone interviews, may skew the sampling toward the
upper income, more affluent citizenry. A sample size of
500, while common among Costa Rican polls, is somewhat
small and results in a relatively large margin of error.
Taking these issues into account, Post still believes that
based on this and other polls (Ref B), support for CAFTA-DR
is steady and is expressed by a majority of the population.
KAPLAN