Temer’s Disapproval Rating Grows as He Pushes for Brazil Reforms

Brazilian President Michel Temer’s disapproval rating jumped in a public opinion poll as his administration pushes unpopular measures to control government spending during the worst economic recession on record.

Temer’s disapproval rating rose to 51.4 percent from 40.4 percent in June, according to an opinion poll conducted by MDA and published by the National Transportation Confederation. The poll of 2,002 people conducted October 13-16 showed Temer’s approval rating at 31.7 percent, compared to 33.8 percent in June -- within the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

A total of 16.9 percent of respondents said they didn’t have an opinion on Temer, down from 25.8 percent in June.

Although the 76-year-old constitutional lawyer has struggled to win over the hearts and minds of Brazilians since he replaced Dilma Rousseff during her impeachment trial, Temer has managed to build a solid coalition in Congress to approve legislation he says is necessary to reduce the budget deficit and get the economy growing again. Temer has said he isn’t trying to be popular and doesn’t plan to be his party’s candidate in the 2018 presidential election.

The survey found an open race awaits possible 2018 candidates as more Brazilians distance themselves from traditional political parties. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the former president from the Workers’ Party, is polling strongest among eight names that have been floated in local media as possible contenders. Still, only 11.4 percent of respondents said he was their top choice, while 58.3 percent remain undecided.

Temer’s government was evaluated as good or great were 14.6 percent of respondents, compared to 11.3 percent in June’s MDA poll; 36.1 percent said his government is regular, and 36.7 percent said it was bad or terrible, compared to 30.2 percent and 28 percent, respectively, in the previous survey.

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