Brazilian president riding high in approval ratings despite economic slowdown
President Dilma Rousseff continues to enjoy high approval ratings as Brazilians remain mostly unaffected by the country's recent economic slowdown, according to a poll released on Tuesday.
Rousseff's government was described as excellent or good by 62% of those surveyed in a poll by Datafolha, a research institute associated with the Folha de S. Paulo, one of the country's biggest newspapers. The rating declined only two points from a Datafolha poll in April and the drop remains within the poll's margin of error.
The high ratings for Rousseff come despite the fact that Brazil's economy, which had grown by as much as 7.5% as recently as 2010, slowed to a near halt for the past year. A weekly Central Bank survey released on Monday predicted Latin America's largest economy will grow by less than 1.81% this year.
But voters' wallets, analysts say, remain unaffected, in part because of tax breaks, lower interest rates and other government measures to spur consumer demand.
The approval remains high because the population still hasn't perceived the effects of the economic crisis, said Mauro Francisco Paulino, Datafolha's director. In particular, he added, the slowdown has yet to erode the purchasing power of low-income Brazilians, the largest part of the electorate and the main base of support for Rousseff's Workers' Party.
Recent surveys by other pollsters gauged similar support, also linked to consumer confidence. The results are comparable to those enjoyed by former President Lula da Silva, Rousseff's mentor and predecessor, whose two terms in office were marked by sustained economic growth.
The Datafolha poll suggests that Rousseff, who took office in January 2011, remains untarnished by a high-profile corruption trial involving dozens of former colleagues, aides and associates from the Lula da Silva administration. The case, now before Brazil's Supreme Court, brought da Silva's administration to its knees.
Only 7% of those polled described Rousseff's government as awful or bad, with most of the disapproval coming from voters with college educations or higher. The government's approval ratings were also lower around big cities. Another 30% described the Rousseff government as ”OK”.