News / Americas

Rousseff's Popularity Sinks After Brazil's Protests

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff gestures during an announcement of the construction of the first 50 port terminals for private use (TUP), at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, July 3, 2013.
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff gestures during an announcement of the construction of the first 50 port terminals for private use (TUP), at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, July 3, 2013.
Reuters
President Dilma Rousseff's approval rating plummeted and her re-election chances have dimmed in the month since massive protests of poor public services, corruption and other complaints shook Brazil, a new poll published on Tuesday showed.
 
The number of Brazilians who approve of her government's performance fell to 31.3 percent in July from 54.2 percent in June. The number of those who think it has done a bad job soared to 29.5 percent from nine percent, the survey by polling firm MDA Pesquisa said.
 
The poll is the second to be released since the protests began. A previous survey, by pollster Datafolha, also suggested that the myriad factors that led to the demonstrations, from the high cost of living to the poor quality of public health and education, have quickly undermined Rousseff's once-towering approval ratings.
 
According to the new poll, commissioned by private transport sector lobby CNT, Rousseff's personal approval rating fell to 49.3 percent in July from 73.7 percent in June. Negative evaluations have risen to 47.3 percent from 20.4 percent a month earlier, and are now almost at break-even with the positive.
 
Together, the slipping poll numbers raise new questions ahead of what previously seemed an easy re-election for Rousseff, who is expected to run again in presidential elections next year.
 
Voting intentions for Rousseff dropped to 33.4 percent from 54.2 percent before the protests. The fall suggests she would no longer win a first round election outright and would likely have to face a rival in a run-off.
 
Almost 45 percent of those polled said they would not vote for Rousseff under any circumstances, which would complicate her prospects in a second-round vote.
 
Former environment minister Marina Silva and Minas Gerais Senator Aecio Neves appeared to be her strongest adversaries, with 20.7 and 15.2 percent of the voting intentions respectively. Silva's show of support was especially strong, bouncing up from just 12.5 percent of those surveyed in the last poll.
 
The daughter of illiterate Amazon rubber tappers and a former Green party presidential candidate, Silva's candidacy is uncertain because she is currently founding a new political party that might not be ready to run by election deadlines.
 
Her popularity, though, stems from the fact that she isn't identified with the existing political establishment. “Marina is the politician that has capitalized most from the protests,” said Clesio Andrade, head of the CNT.
 
Until recently, Rousseff had enjoyed some of the highest approval ratings of any leader in the Western world, largely thanks to record-low unemployment. 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 that 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 has eroded the popularity of politicians at all levels, including Rousseff.
 
A striking worker carries a large effigy of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff during a protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 11, 2013.A striking worker carries a large effigy of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff during a protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 11, 2013.
x
A striking worker carries a large effigy of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff during a protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 11, 2013.
A striking worker carries a large effigy of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff during a protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 11, 2013.
The CNT/MDA poll showed that 84.3 percent of Brazilians approve of the protests that drew one million people onto the streets of Brazil's main cities when the they peaked in June. The poll said the main factor fueling the sudden outburst of anger was discontent with corruption in Brazil, followed by bad health services and overspending on soccer stadiums for next year's World Cup in Brazil.
 
Rousseff's main response to the protests was to promise political reform. Her plans to consult Brazilians through a constituent assembly or plebiscite, though, met stiff opposition in Congress, even among her ruling Workers Party.
 
Despite the setbacks, Rousseff remains the leader among potential candidates. “She is still a very competitive candidate and the leader of the pack,” said Brazil analyst Joao Augusto Castro Neves at the Eurasia consultancy in Washington.
 
Still, her decline in the polls has led some members in her party to openly advocate the return of her mentor, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, still Brazil's most popular politician.
 
If Brazil's sluggish economy deteriorates into recession and unemployment rises, the chances of Lula running again for president increase - even if age and health remain a concern for the 67-year-old cancer survivor, Castro Neves said.
 
The CNT/MDA poll of 2,003 people was conducted July 7-10. The study has a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Former El Salvador President to Await Graft Trial in Jail, Not at Home

Francisco Flores, who had been on the run until early Sept. before turning himself in, accused of misappropriating $15M in 2001 earthquake relief donations
More

US Won't Impede Venezuela's UN Security Council Bid

Washington is clearly unhappy, however, with idea of country joining the Council, which has the task of overseeing international peace and security
More

Video Dehydration Is Top Killer of Southern Arizona's Migrants

US Border Patrol's search and rescue unit launches 'blue blinking light of life program' - a series of poles strategically placed throughout desert that emit high-intensity blue light
More

US Steps Up Pressure on Guatemala Over Labor Rights

Trade representative says Obama administration will push ahead with legal action under free trade agreement to make country meet international standards
More

Video US Attempts Crackdown on Trafficking Along Southern Border

Nogales, Arizona, notoriously known as 'tunnel city,' used by traffickers to smuggle humans, narcotics into US and Border Patrol responds with new technologies
More

Video Arizona Non-Profit Helps Keep Dehydrated Migrants Alive

The Sonoran Desert, a common crossing point for illegal immigrants, is one of North America's hottest places
More