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Pandemic-Battered Voters in Ecuador Seek Stability

Pandemic-Battered Voters in Ecuador Seek Stability

Story Highlights

  • 78% of Ecuadorians say their lives have been affected by COVID-19
  • 39% have lost their jobs or businesses because of coronavirus
  • Record-low 16% say it is a good time to find a job

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Voters in Ecuador head to the polls Sunday to choose a leader they hope can rescue their economy, which has been slowing down since 2015 and almost paralyzed since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gallup surveys conducted in Ecuador in late 2020 show the COVID-19 pandemic has left relatively few lives untouched. Half of Ecuadorians (50%) say their lives have been affected by the coronavirus situation "a lot," and another 28% say it has affected their lives "some."

For many, this has meant lost jobs and closed businesses -- either temporarily or permanently -- and reduced hours and wages. As businesses shuttered across the country and unemployment soared in 2020, 64% of Ecuadorians say they temporarily stopped working at their job or business, and 39% say they lost their job or business because of the coronavirus situation.

More than six in 10 (63%) in Ecuador say they received less money than usual from their jobs or businesses, which many Ecuadorians could ill afford, as the percentage of adults who struggled to afford food shot to a record-high 64% last year. Many also saw their hours cut: 58% say they worked fewer hours at their jobs or businesses because of the pandemic.

Most Ecuadorians' Lives Affected by COVID-19
Have you experienced each of the following as a result of the coronavirus situation?
Yes No Does not apply/No job*
% % %
Temporarily stopped working at your job or business 64 28 8
Received less money than usual from your job or business 63 27 9
Worked less hours at your job or business 58 30 11
Lost your job or business 39 51 9
* Volunteered response
Gallup World Poll, 2020

Men and women in Ecuador are just as likely to say they have lost their jobs or businesses because of the pandemic, but women are somewhat less likely to say they worked fewer hours or stopped working temporarily because of the pandemic. Women are also slightly less likely to say that they earned less money than they usually do. These findings may reflect women's greater likelihood than men to work part time rather than full time for an employer or for themselves.

Jobs Outlook Bleakest in Years

Ecuadorians do not have much hope that their situations will get much better on the jobs front. A record-low 16% say it is a good time to find a job where they live, while more than eight in 10 (81%) say it is a bad time to find a job. Men and women, Ecuadorians from all age brackets, and those in urban and rural areas are similarly dour about the job outlook.


Line graph. Ecuadorians are now the most pessimistic they have been in more than a decade about the job outlook in their local communities. One in six Ecuadorians think it is a good time to find a job.

Bottom Line

With a crowded field of candidates, Ecuador is unlikely to choose a new president this weekend. Experts anticipate that decision will be punted to April 11 in a run-off. Regardless of who is ultimately chosen, the next president will immediately face two monumental tasks: to pick up the pieces of a battered economy that has contracted between 10% and 12% -- and find a way to successfully vaccinate Ecuadorians to make economic recovery possible. For most Ecuadorians who have seen their lives upended during the pandemic, it's likely that both can't happen soon enough.

At the same time, Ecuadorians are not alone in their struggles. Many in Latin America were already having a tough time before the pandemic and could lose ground in the battle against poverty as they see their jobs destroyed, some of them never to return. Future Gallup articles will analyze how COVID-19 has affected lives across the broader region and the rest of the world.

Editor's note: Because of the pandemic, Gallup switched from face-to-face surveys in Ecuador to telephone surveys in 2020, as it did across most of the world.

For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

Learn more about how the Gallup World Poll works.

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