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Support for Brazil's Rousseff Slips in Poll


Respondents Cite Inflation, Corruption and Deteriorating Public Services as President's Rating Falls to 31%


BRASÍLIA—Public support for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is slipping ahead of 2014 elections, according to a public-opinion poll published Tuesday, with the leader unlikely to get any help from a stagnating economy.

A nationwide poll by the MDA research organization, conducted for Brazil's National Transport Confederation, showed support for the Rousseff administration diminished to 31% from 54% in early June. Respondents cited inflation, corruption and deteriorating public services in their critique of the administration, now in its third year.

"Awareness of corruption is now very high in Brazil," said Clésio Andrade, the confederation's president. "Next year's election is now wide open." The confederation, which represents mass-transportation and other companies, has run similar polls since 1998. A spokeswoman said it had no role in the June protests against a mass-transport-fare increase that grew into nationwide demonstrations against a range of grievances.

The poll was conducted in 20 of Brazil's 27 states and had 2,002 respondents, with an error margin of 2.2 percentage points, the confederation said.

The poll still showed Ms. Rousseff as the leader among potential candidates ahead of presidential balloting scheduled for October 2014, with former Brazilian Green Party nominee Marina Silva in second place and Senator Aécio Neves, of the opposition Social Democrats, in third.

Political risk analysts noted that polls this far in advance of an election tend to reflect name recognition and television exposure, factors favoring the incumbent, along with voter concerns. A presidential election campaign, complete with televised debates, often boosts challengers.

Celso Roma, a political scientist who contributes research to Brazil's National Science and Technology Institute, said the president already faces "a difficult situation." As for 2014, the outlook is bleak. "There is not enough time for her to stage a comeback before the election," he said.

Deep-seated disappointment with the administration was reflected in the poll, in which 84% of respondents said they supported the monthlong protest marches occurring in over a hundred cities in June. Some 12% of respondents said they personally took part in the demonstrations, demanding better health care, education and transport services, and government measures to curb corruption.

In addition, many economists and financial-market analysts say Brazil's economy, already stagnating, will get worse before it gets better.

"The economy isn't going to grow more than 1% this year," said Paulo Faria-Tavares, managing partner of São Paulo's PTX Brazil Consultants. "At the same time, inflation will remain at, or above, the 6.5% ceiling of the government's own tolerance band, destroying purchasing power."

The administration is attempting to combat inflation, currently at 6.7%, with a combination of higher interest rates and cuts in government spending. But such measures would likely slow the economy and could result in further increases in unemployment, many economists say. The country's unemployment rate is already creeping higher. It was 5.8% as of May, up from 4.6% at the end of 2012.

"The jobs market is the only remaining pillar sustaining the government," said Mr. Roma. "If that falls, the government falls."

 Write to Tom Murphy at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Source: The Wall Street Journal -

Last Updated on Monday, 17 March 2014 11:04


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