Poll: Nicaraguans hopeful about canal

Most Nicaraguans think the $40 billion canal megaproject proposed by the Ortega administration and its Chinese business partner HKND Group is a realistic endeavor that will be brought to fruition, creating new jobs and prosperity in a country that desperately needs both, according to a new government survey conducted by Sandinista pollsters Consultora Siglo Nuevo.

The polling firm, which claims it surveyed 7,000 people in every municipality of Nicaragua last weekend, found that 73% of the population thinks the Chinese-commissioned canal project is feasible, even though no feasibility studies have been performed. Only 6.5% of those polled said they think the project won’t work, while 7.6% said they’re not sure. An additional 9.6% scratched their heads in befuddlement when asked about the Nicaragua Canal, while the remaining 3.2% stared unblinkingly into the middle distance without answering the question.

Asked if people think the canal will get built as advertised by the government, 70.8% said yes, 10.8% said they weren’t aware of any canal project, 10.7% said maybe, 1% said they don’t care either way, and 1% stared blankly.

A third canal-related question revealed a similar division of responses. Asked, “Do you think the Nicaraguan Canal will bring work and prosperity to the country?” 71% of Nicaraguans answered in the affirmative.

A new Siglo Nuevo poll released this week shows President Daniel Ortega still enjoys very high approval ratings. And Rosario too. And Rosario too. (photo CCC CPerez)

Other survey questions asked by Siglo Nuevo seem to offer insight as to why so many Nicaraguans are so eager to believe in the canal megaproject, which the government has promised will double the country’s economic growth and triple levels of formal employment. When the polling firm asked people to identify their primary concerns in life, a combined 74% said a lack of employment, their family’s economic situation, or simply deprivation. The three-quarters of the population that is worried about finding work and making ends meet is almost the exact percentage of people who said they believe the canal project will happen.

Looking on the bright side of the numbers, Tomás Valdez, chief pollster for Siglo Nuevo, said the canal is inspiring hope in most Nicaraguans.

“The Great Canal includes eight other big projects, so that means there is great hope that this will improve the situation here for youth, families and the community,” Valdez told Sandinista media.

Nicaragua’s opposition has accused President Daniel Ortega of acting like a snake oil merchant by peddling the canal dream as a catholicon for all of Nicaragua’s economic and social woes. But Valdez says his survey shows the skeptics are in the minority, and that their “dissident voices” have failed to discourage people into thinking the project will flop.

“Here the population believes the canal is possible to achieve, so those who are leading this monumental project for our country should be encouraged to keep on pushing forward, which is what they are doing,” Valdez said.

The Siglo Nuevo poll also found that 71% of Nicaraguans think their country is changing for the better, while 75% think President Ortega has done a good job at the helm.


  • car

    7000 surveyed by a sandinista polling company? seriously TIm?

  • Mela Pellas

    We have started a program to teach pigs to fly to release 1000 flying pigs the very same day the canal del chino opens. The pigs will fly over the entire route of the canal and land on the graveyard of the by then long gone presidential couple Dani and Chayo. Happy opium dreams.

  • El Nica Libre

    A dream, is a dream! What Ortega is doing, is only take time to think how he will continue as president, but he is acting like Somoza, making millions, in lands and goods.
    Any way, a realistic government that think in any interoceanic canal, will look at San Juan river, a natural canal and cheap to build, there is the best option as always was. I think that all this crap, is only another chinese joke!

  • Juan

    The part of ‘even though no feasibility studies have been performed’ is not correct !! Two Dutch companies (Advies- en ingenieursbureau RoyalHaskoningDHV and adviesbureau Ecorys) have performed a feasibility study last year commissioned by the Nigaraguan Goverment. The report is not yet made public, but there conclusion:
    The construction of a canal across the Central American country of Nicaragua is technically and financially feasible (http://fd.nl/ondernemen/531634-1306/kanaal-door-nicaragua-economisch-haalbaar-zegt-royalhaskoningdhv).

    • christiaan de smet

      thats another joke. That guys investigated de route on the Sn Juan river, route that was already rejected by the promotors before the results of that study came out. seventhundredthousend dollar in the water of the sn juanriver for the nicas, but nice money for the duchmen

  • maria

    Ortega plans to continue filling his pockets – China is a powerful country and they will take over eventually – for now the Nicaraguan minority who are mostly poor working people and are loyal to Ortega/Sandinistas because of the pieces of land given to them- of course they’ll support such project. The Nicaraguan people are hopeful and we’ve heard all the promises but they never come to fruition. Ortega is not thinking about the native people it will affect, the eco system – for all he cares he’ll be dead before we start seeing the oil spills, dead species etc. Look at the situation with the pension for the elders in Nicaragua, it has been taken away from them -but he of course can buy two TV stations for $10 M each…c’mon people this fool needs to be overthrown.