Brazilians’ view of Bolsonaro govt dims further, survey shows

Brazilians’ view of Bolsonaro govt dims further, survey shows

People take part in a protest against cuts to federal spending on higher education planned by Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro’s right-wing government, in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 15, 2019. The banner reads: “Out Bolsonaro.” (REUTERS File Photo)

BRASILIA, May 24 (Reuters): More Brazilians disapprove of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s government than those who approve, a survey on Friday showed, the first time this has happened since the former Army captain was sworn into office on January 1.

The first five months of Bolsonaro’s term have been marked by a weak economy, which likely contracted in the first quarter, failure to cultivate political support for his reform agenda, controversy, and some high-profile gaffes.

According to the latest XP Investimentos/Ipespe poll, which surveyed 1,000 Brazilians on May 20-21, 36% think Bolsonaro’s government is bad or terrible. That’s up 5 percentage points from the previous survey earlier this month.

The number of those who think the government is good or great slipped to 34% from 35%. The margin of error is 3.2 percentage points, XP Investimentos said.

Brazilian markets have wobbled in recent weeks as political infighting and divisions have put the brakes on Bolsonaro’s pension reform bill’s progress through Congress. Approval of the bill is seen as vital to boosting investor, consumer and business sentiment, and bringing Brazil’s economy back to life.

The overwhelming majority of Brazilians blame previous governments and “external factors” for the current economic situation. But the number of those blaming Bolsonaro’s government doubled to 10% from the previous poll only three weeks earlier, the survey showed.

Brazilians’ confidence in the government’s future path is also eroding, according to this poll, which shows the gap between the optimistic and pessimistic outlooks for the remainder of his term narrower than ever.

Some 47% of those surveyed said the rest of Bolsonaro’s term will be good or great, down from 51% earlier this month, while the number of those saying it will be bad or terrible rose to 31% from 27%.