Brazil Rousseff Approval Rating Up, Impeachment Support Down

  • Fight against Zika virus diverts some attention from crises
  • Survey may help Rousseff as lawmakers consider impeachment

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s approval rating recovered from record lows and support for her impeachment declined as a nationwide fight against Zika-spreading mosquitoes shared the public spotlight with the country’s political and economic crises.

Rousseff’s personal approval rating rose to 21.8 percent, compared with 15.9 percent in October, according to a Feb. 18-21 poll commissioned by the National Transportation Confederation. Conducted by public-opinion research company MDA, the survey of 2,002 people has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

Legislators are sure to weigh the first major opinion poll of 2016 as they determine whether to support impeachment proceedings against the president for using allegedly irregular accounting measures to hide a fiscal deficit. Wednesday’s survey shows the movement to oust Rousseff is waning as the country tackles other problems like combating the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

“The focus on Zika ended up dividing the attention that was previously centered on the political and economic crises,” Cristiano Noronha, vice president of consulting firm Arko Advice, said in a telephone interview. “The government reached a pretty low level, so positive actions will improve its image a bit.”

Brazilians also took note of government measures to maintain popular social programs and protect the population from the effects of inflation, such as increasing the minimum wage, Noronha said. Rousseff’s administration recognizing past mistakes last year weakened the opposition’s argument for her impeachment, he added.

Support for Rousseff’s impeachment dropped to 55.6 percent from 62.8 percent in October, while those who oppose her removal rose to 40.3 percent compared to 32.1 percent in the previous poll.

The survey showed 11.4 percent of respondents consider Rousseff’s government good or great while 62.4 percent rate it bad or very bad. That compares with 8.8 percent and 70 percent, respectively, in October.

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