Brazil's Temer Drops in Poll as Outsider Surges Amid Recession

  • President’s personal disapproval rating at 62.4 percent
  • Poll taken as Temer pushes overhaul of Brazil pensions

Popular support for Brazil’s President Michel Temer fell sharply while that for an outside populist to replace him in 2018 nearly doubled as the country’s recession drags on and violence surges.

Temer’s personal approval rating fell to 24.4 percent percent from 31.7 percent in October, according to a poll conducted by MDA and published by the National Transportation Confederation, or CNT.

Jair Bolsonaro

Photographer: Andressa Anholete/AFP via Getty Images

At the same time, Jair Bolsonaro, a Brazilian legislator and former army officer, placed second in a simulated 2018 presidential race, virtually doubling his voter intention to 6.5 percent and trailing former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with 16.6 percent. Bolsonaro built much of his support with a tough stance against violence.

"The poll showed that space is opening up for a new political force in the 2018 election," Clesio Andrade, head of the CNT, said referring to the chances of Bolsonaro and other outsiders.

Nearly 47 percent of those polled expect public security to worsen over the next six months, up from 36 percent in October. Prison riots and ransacking in several states have been prominent on Brazilian TV channels in recent weeks.

Temer has repeatedly said that adopting tough measures to put the economy back on track is more important than his popularity and that he won’t compete in the next general elections in 2018. Contrary to his standing in opinion polls, Temer has enjoyed overwhelming support in both houses of Congress.

Last year the administration secured approval for a bill capping government spending and this year it hopes legislators will approve cuts to pension payments and a deregulation of the labor market.

The poll of 2,002 people was conducted Feb. 8-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

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