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Brazil President Approval Has Biggest Plunge After Protests

July 16 (Bloomberg) -- President Dilma Rousseff’s approval rating fell by the most since she took office after more than 1 million protesters took to the streets, according to an MDA poll published by the National Transport Confederation.

Rousseff’s personal approval rating dropped to 49.3 percent from 73.7 percent in the previous poll published on June 11. The government’s approval rating dropped to 31.3 percent from 54.2 percent, according to the survey, which interviewed 2,002 people from July 7 to 10. The margin of error is 2.2 percentage point.

Brazilians protested throughout the country last month against bus fare increases, corruption, and poor public services. The demonstrations came as economic growth slows and annual inflation exceeds the official 6.5 percent target ceiling. Today’s poll shows voters are less optimistic about the economy.

The difficulty in addressing protesters’ long-term demands, such as improvements in education and health, and Rousseff’s high rejection rate among voters make her reelection difficult, said Clesio Andrade, head of the National Transport Confederation. Of those who were polled, 44.7 percent said they wouldn’t vote for Rousseff under any circumstance.

Election Prospects

“There’s a big possibility she wouldn’t win the election,” Andrade told reporters in Brasilia after the release of the poll. “Technically she can recover a bit but her situation is not good.”

Still, Rousseff remains the leading candidate for next year’s election, according to the survey. The president would garner 33.4 percent of the votes in the first round, ahead of former Environment Minister Marina Silva, supported by 20.7% of those interviewed. Senator Aecio Neves of the PSDB opposition party had 15.2 percent backing, and Pernambuco state Governor Eduardo Campos trailed with 7.4 percent.

The percentage of those interviewed who expect unemployment to improve fell to 32 percent from 39.6 percent. The percentage who expect their income will rise fell to 29.6 percent from 35.8 percent.

More than 84 percent of those polled supported last month’s demonstrations and 62.1 percent expect them to continue in the streets and on social networks.

Growth in Latin America’s largest economy slowed to 0.9 percent last year from 2.7 percent growth in 2011 as manufacturers lost ground to foreign competitors. Higher household debt and accelerating inflation have stifled consumer demand.

To contact the reporter on this story: Raymond Colitt in Brasilia Newsroom at rcolitt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net

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