The popularity of Thailand's Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has increased and exceeded that of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra merely two months after his assumption of the post, according to latest ABAC Poll.
Public approval of Surayud's premiership rose to 70.5 per cent, up from 55.2 per cent on November 11 and 60.9 per cent in early October, shortly after the military leaders appointed him the leader of the interim government following the September 19 coup.
The 63-year-old retired army chief who had become a trusted privy councilor replaced ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The poll, based on a survey of 4,195 people in 18 provinces countrywide last week, showed 71.3 per cent believed in Surayud's sincerity in working for the national interest without intending to fulfill his own political ambitions.
Meanwhile Thaksin's national popularity fell to 15.8 per cent from 34.5 per cent in February this year and 56.2 per cent in mid-2005, according to the same poll.
It was also revealed that even in Thaksin's stronghold in rural north-eastern Thailand, Gen Surayud commanded a 57.2 per cent approval rate while Thaksin's popularity has fallen as low as 30.1 per cent.
ABAC Poll Director Dr Noppadol Kannika of Bangkok's Assumption University said that Thaksin's falling popularity might have resulted from his frequent appearance in some Asian countries.