News / Americas

Rousseff's Popularity Plummets With Brazil Protests

Defaced image of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff displayed in Belo Horizonte, June 24, 2013.
Defaced image of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff displayed in Belo Horizonte, June 24, 2013.
Reuters
President Dilma Rousseff's approval rating sank by 27 percentage points in the last three weeks, a poll showed on Saturday, the strongest evidence yet that the recent wave of street protests sweeping Brazil poses a serious threat to her likely re-election bid next year.
 
The share of people who consider Rousseff's administration "great" or "good" plummeted to 30 percent from 57 percent in early June, according to a Datafolha opinion poll published in local newspaper Folha de S.Paulo.
 
The drop was the sharpest for a Brazilian leader since 1990, when Fernando Collor outraged the population by freezing all savings accounts in a desperate attempt to stop hyperinflation. Two years later, Collor resigned the presidency as Congress moved to impeach him over corruption allegations.
 
Until recently, Rousseff had enjoyed some of the highest approval ratings of any leader in the Western world, largely thanks to record-low unemployment. But her popularity started to slip in early June as rising consumer prices began to eat away at Brazilians' purchasing power, a sure recipe for trouble in a country with a long history of runaway inflation.
 
Then came the nationwide street demonstrations of the past few weeks, which have sent shockwaves through Brazil's political establishment. While the protests have not been directed at a single leader or party, widespread discontent with a ruling class that is seen as self-serving and corrupt is eroding the popularity of politicians at all levels, including Rousseff.
 
The Datafolha poll was the first taken since more than a million Brazilians poured on to the streets in recent weeks to protest a litany of grievances, from corruption and poor public services to outrage at billions of dollars in taxpayer money being spent to host the 2014 soccer World Cup.
 
The president's approval rating fell sharply in all regions of the country, the poll showed. In the Northeast, birthplace of her popular predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and a stronghold of the ruling Workers' Party (PT), the share of people who view the administration favorably sank to 40 percent from 64 percent in a poll on June 8.
 
The poll also asked Brazilians if they were in favor of the protests, the largest to hit Brazil in two decades. Eighty-one percent of respondents said they support the demonstrations. Asked if the protests had resulted in positive changes, 65 percent said yes.
 
The unrest has prompted a flurry of promises to improve public services and other measures aimed at quelling the protests. In the past week alone, Brazil's Congress voted on a battery of bills promoting issues popular with the protesters, and the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of a lower house representative convicted of corruption.
 
Rousseff shocked Brazil on Monday by proposing a constituent assembly to overhaul the country's political system, but withdrew the plan a day later after it ran up against widespread opposition, even from within her own party.
 
She is now seeking congressional support for a non-binding plebiscite to ask Brazilians how they would like to see the political system changed. In the Datafolha poll, 68 percent of respondents said they backed the idea of a plebiscite.
 
The drop in Rousseff's popularity comes at a delicate moment for Brazil's economy, which barely expanded last year and relies on an ambitious agenda of infrastructure projects to return to sustained growth in coming years.
 
The approval rating of Rousseff's economic team, led by Finance Minister Guido Mantega and central bank president Alexandre Tombini, dropped to 27 percent from 49 percent.
 
The Datafolha poll, which was conducted on June 27-28, surveyed 4,717 people and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

US Judge Holds Argentina in Contempt Over Bond Payment Plan

In rare move, District Judge Thomas Griesa says country taking 'illegal' steps to evade his orders in longstanding dispute with hedge funds over defaulted debt
More

Brazil's Rousseff Extends Lead Over Silva in Elections

President Dilma Rousseff's expected victory margin over closest rival Marina Silva has surged to 9 percentage points
More

8 Killed in Peru Quake

The victims of the 4.9-magnitude tremor were all from the mountainous community of Misca, where many homes collapsed in the quake
More

S. Africa Gives Cuba $31 Million Economic Aid

South African President Jacob Zuma pledged the money to Cuba in 2010, but its implementation was delayed for several years
More

At UN, Indigenous Forest Peoples Express Folk Spirituality, 'Green' Values'

Over 1,000 delegates were invited to a UN conference to share perspectives on 'best practices' to ensure indigenous rights worldwide.
More

Venezuela Suffers Another Blackout

South American OPEC member nation seeing increasing power cuts in recent years, labeled as evidence of mismanagement by the socialist authorities
More