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Bishops Alvarez, Brenes, and Baez Have Highest Favorable Opinion Rating in Nicaragua

Daniel Ortega, Rosario Murillo, and their son, Laureano Ortega Murillo, are the public figures with the highest negative opinion index

L-R: Bishops Rolando Alvarez and Silvio Baez, and Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, at an activity in Managua, January 2018. Photo: File/Confidencial

6 de diciembre 2023

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Imprisoned Bishop Rolando Alvarez, exiled Bishop Silvio Baez, and Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes have the highest favorable rating of the public figures evaluated in the latest Costa Rican firm CID Gallup survey. On the other end of the spectrum, dictator Daniel Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, once again obtained the worst favorable to unfavorable indexes, with the unfavorable opinions considerably exceeding the favorable ones.

This is the first time that these three leaders of the Nicaraguan Catholic Church coincide in the top three of a public opinion survey. They are also the only figures with a positive index of equal or higher than 10%.


Monsignor Alvarez, bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Estelí, is the public figure who registered the highest positive index with +14, obtaining 47% favorable opinion and 32% unfavorable.

Cardinal Brenes registered 46% favorable opinion and 33% unfavorable, for a positive index of +13.

The auxiliary bishop of Managua, Monsignor Baez, obtained 43% favorable opinion and 33% unfavorable, for a positive index of +10. The cleric has been in exile since mid-2019 after Pope Francis ordered him to leave the country for "security reasons."

The CID Gallup survey, contracted by CONFIDENCIAL, was conducted between October 17 and November 15, 2023. They interviewed 800 Nicaraguans throughout the country who were over 18 years of age and had cell phones. The margin of error is +/-2.93% and the confidence level is 95%, according to the data sheet.

Another of the results is that 72% of those polled "disagree" with the sentence of more than 26 years in prison against Bishop Alvarez, whom they consider "innocent" and affirm that "he should be released." Only 9% consider him "guilty."

The survey also shows a positive margin of favorable opinions for former politicians Miguel Mora (39% favorable, 36% unfavorable), Juan Sebastian Chamorro (38% favorable, 37% unfavorable), and Medardo Mairena (37% favorable, 36% unfavorable).

The Ortega-Murillo family, the worst-rated

The dictatorial couple and their son, Laureano Facundo Ortega Murillo, are the political figures with the worst negative ratings indices. Daniel Ortega obtained an unfavorable rating of 46% against 38% favorable, for a negative index of -8.

The same negative index was registered by Laureano Ortega Murillo, who received  43% unfavorable opinion and 35% favorable. The son of the presidential couple has gained notoriety in recent months by substituting for his father in a public event and by representing the dictatorship in the signing of commercial and financial agreements with China and Russia.

Vice President Murillo has a negative index of -5%, with 44% unfavorable and 39% favorable.

Rosario Murillo and Daniel Ortega upon their arrival at a ceremony for the 47th anniversary of the death of Carlos Fonseca Amador, founder of the FSLN. Photo: Presidency

The survey was carried out before Murillo publicly attacked the celebrations in Nicaragua for the triumph of Sheynnis Palacios as the new Miss Universe. The spokeswoman of the regime described the celebrations as "made-up provocations" and "coup d'état destructivism."

The director of Miss Nicaragua, Karen Celebertti, along with her husband, Martin Argüello, and their son, Bernardo Argüello, were accused by the Ortega-Murillo regime's National Police of "anti-national conspiracy" and acts related to "financing terrorism."

The dictatorship also de facto banished Celebertti and her daughter, Luciana Argüello. Nicaragua's Immigration Service prevented both women from returning to Nicaragua after participating in activities related to the Miss Universe pageant. Celebertti's husband and son have been missing since Tuesday, November 28, when the National Police, under orders of the Ortega dictatorship, took them out of their home, where they had been under siege since November 24. The whereabouts of both are unknown.

Reyna Rueda falls in the polls and Fidel Moreno stays the same 

Among Sandinista figures, there was a decline in the perception of Managua mayor Reyna Rueda, who obtained an unfavorable index of -3% with 36% favorable and 39% unfavorable. 

This is a drop from the June 2023 CID Gallup poll when the mayor was one of the highest-rated Sandinista figures, with 37% favorable opinion and 26% unfavorable, for a positive index of +11.

The FSLN personalities with the highest favorable indexes are Fidel Moreno, political secretary in the Managua mayor's office, and Army General Julio Cesar Aviles, head of the Armed Forces. 

Moreno has a 40% favorable opinion and 36% unfavorable, for an index of +4%. He holds an administrative position in the municipality, from where he has been making important financial decisions for years.

General Aviles registered 39% favorable and 36% unfavorable, for an index of +3%.

"Nicaragua is going in the wrong direction"

Sixty percent of those polled consider that the country is "going in the wrong direction" under the Ortega and Murillo administration, according to the survey results.

To the question: "How do you think Nicaragua is doing?" only 29% of those polled believe that "it is on the right path", while 12% were unwilling or unable to answer the question.

These percentages are similar to those of other surveys conducted in 2022 and January 2023, when 62% of those polled responded that Nicaragua was going in the "wrong direction", and 33% said the opposite.

In this most recent public opinion survey, CID Gallup asked: What are the country's main problems? "Unemployment" was first with 24%; "corruption in the government" followed with 22%; "cost of living" or "increase in poverty" with 17%; "political crisis" with 12%, and "insecurity" with 7%. 

In the case of corruption, the Costa Rican firm asked: What is your opinion about public corruption in the last six months? 52% answered that "it has increased"; 21% stated that "it has remained the same"; 14% considered that "it has decreased"; and 13% "do not know or do not answer."

CID Gallup: 60% want to leave the country

Faced with the bleak outlook in Nicaragua and few prospects for improvement, a majority of those surveyed see migration as a way out

To the question, If you and your family had the possibility of emigrating, would you leave Nicaragua?, 60% of the Nicaraguans surveyed answered "yes", 39% said "no", and 1% "do not know or do not answer."

CID Gallup also asked about the possibility of emigrating to Costa Rica or the United States in the next six months.

Just over a quarter (26%) or those polled said they were "very likely" to emigrate to the United States, while 70% percent said it was "unlikely" or "improbable."

In the case of Costa Rica, 21% responded that it was "very likely" and 77% said it was "unlikely" or "improbable."

This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staff. To get the most relevant news from our English coverage delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Dispatch.

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Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.

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