Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is approaching an election year as clear favorite, but she must do more to curb violence and corruption to maintain her popularity, according to a public opinion poll conducted by MDA and commissioned by the private transport sector lobby CNT.
The survey showed Rousseff defeating her most likely challengers in the October election without a runoff. Environmentalist Marina Silva, who was not able to register her party in time, would come closest to forcing a second-round vote.
Rousseff’s strategy of more public appearances around the country is paying off, along with her plan to bring in foreign doctors to fill gaps in the national health system, CNT president Clésio Andrade said.
Increased public perception that inflation is under control also helped Rousseff edge up her personal approval rating to 58.8% in November from 58% in September, while her government’s rating rose to 39% from 38.1%.
“Numbers indicate that the president has been able to maintain her recovery percentages, especially when it comes to vote intention and government and personal evaluations,” Senator Clésio Andrade said, while presenting the poll’s results to the press.
Rousseff will have to keep a close watch on prices, though. Data released this week showed inflation slowing for a fourth consecutive month in October, but with the prospect of picking up speed due to higher food prices.
The CNT poll confirmed results of other recent public opinion surveys showing Rousseff has overcome the dramatic drop in support she suffered after the outburst of social discontent that saw hundreds of thousands of Brazilians take to the streets to protest corruption and vent frustration with their politicians.
Rousseff, who is expected to seek a second term next year, has been rushing around opening public works projects to upgrade Brazil’s dilapidated infrastructure and improve urban transport, a major source of social anger.
She has also launched a program that will deploy thousands of foreign doctors, mostly from Cuba, to practice in poor neighborhoods and remote parts of the country that have no resident physicians.
A growing majority of Brazilians support the program that was initially opposed by local doctors, according to the poll — 84.3% in November, up from 50% when the so-called “More Doctors” plan was launched in July.