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Poll Finds Brazilians Back Petrobras Probe, No Matter the Cost

  • Reuters

FILE - The headquarters building of Brazilian state oil company Petrobras in Rio de Janeiro.

FILE - The headquarters building of Brazilian state oil company Petrobras in Rio de Janeiro.

An overwhelming majority of Brazilians want an investigation into a sprawling kickback scheme at state-controlled oil producer Petrobras to continue despite concern it is hurting the nation's ailing economy, according to a poll released Monday.

Ninety percent of Brazilians say the investigation should continue whatever the cost, according to the survey by polling firm Ipsos. Forty-six percent of those asked indicated they thought the scandal was damaging an already weak economy.

The poll also found that President Dilma Rousseff's popularity remained in the single digits, with just 5 percent of those asked saying she was doing a good or great job.

That made Rousseff the most unpopular president since Brazil's return to democracy three decades ago and represented a sharp drop from when she was re-elected in October 2014. At that time, 48 percent polled by Ipsos said she was doing a great or a good job.

The poll found Brazilians were pessimistic about the nation's path, with 92 percent of those surveyed saying the country was "not on the right track."

That represented a massive turnabout from last October. At that time, 60 percent of those asked by Ipsos thought Brazil was headed in the right direction.

Brazil's economy is mired in what is set to be its worst recession in a century, worsened by the graft scandal focused on Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is officially known.

A spreading epidemic of the mosquito-borne Zika virus has been linked to some 3,700 birth defects in newborns.

The Ipsos survey interviewed 1,200 people across Brazil between Jan. 13 and Jan. 27. The margin of error was 3 percentage points.