A majority of Brazilians favor impeaching President Dilma Rousseff due to the economic slump and a snowballing corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras, according to a poll released this week. But despite calls for Rousseff's ouster and recent street demonstrations against her government, opposition leaders have resisted pushing for impeachment and say it is unlikely.
The survey by polling firm MDA showed that 59.7% of respondents favor Rousseff's impeachment, and 68.9% believe she is responsible for the corruption involving a massive kickback scheme at Petrobras.
Former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, of the biggest opposition party, the PSDB, said that removing Rousseff so soon after she was re-elected would be destructive to Brazil's 30-year-old democracy, especially since prosecutors have found no evidence she participated in the corruption scheme at Petrobras.
Rousseff's popularity has fallen to a new low, with 64.8% of respondents rating her government negatively and only 10.8% seeing it positively, the poll said.
When MDA last surveyed Rousseff's popularity in late September, before her narrow re-election in October, 41% of respondents rated her government as great or good and 23.5% as bad or terrible.
The new poll also showed that Rousseff's personal approval rating had dropped to 18.9% from 55.6% in September, while 77.7% of respondents said they disapproved of her leadership versus 40.1% in the previous survey.
If Brazil were to hold presidential elections today, opposition leader Aecio Neves would win. In the poll, 55.7% of interviews said they would vote for Neves, of the PSDB party, who lost the October presidential vote in a close runoff. Just 16.6% said they would vote for Rousseff.
A vast majority of those polled, or 92.8%, expressed concern about Brazil's economy, which has slowed to a halt on Rousseff's watch and is expected to fall into recession this year. Pessimism about an economic recovery extends to the prospects for rooting out corruption, with 65.7% of respondents saying they do not believe those who were responsible for the graft at Petrobras will be punished.
The MDA poll, commissioned by the national transport lobby group CNT, surveyed 2,002 people from March 16 to 19.