Polls show less pessimism, but not much optimism
The atmosphere of economic rally in Brazil that closed out last year continues into the early weeks of 2018. All short-term indicators continue to grow, from low inflation and interest rates to industrial output and vehicle sales growth, and all-time high records in the stock and capital markets.
However, this appears more to reflect a cyclical recovery rather than to predict a longer period of sustained development. The fiscal situation at both the federal and most state and municipal levels continues to be dire and will not be resolved even if upcoming scheduled auctions of public assets prove very successful.
The most symbolic of all reforms that could point to a healthier fiscal picture, an overhaul of the social security system, seems doomed although President Temer assures he has not given up on it yet, promising one last ditch effort just after Carnival at the end of February. Very few believe he can prevail in his goal. The latest public opinion polls show that only 15% of all voters support the pension reform he proposes. The same polls show his approval rating remains in the single digits at 6% compared to 70% who disapprove of his administration.
Although voters are less pessimistic about prospects for Brazil’s economy, they are not entirely optimistic. It seems that most have not yet realized that the situation is not as catastrophic as it was in the last three years, and do not place much confidence in the future, according to the surveys.
This mood is also reflected in polls regarding voters’ intention, which still show former President Lula as the front-runner with 37% of all preferences, despite the fact that his chances of running have been severely handicapped by the recent appeals court decision to uphold his conviction on graft charges.
All presumed candidates who might be identified as aligned with Temer have very small percentages in such surveys. The second most preferred, at 17%, continues to be alt-right former Army Captain Jair Bolsonaro. Lula leads the rejection index, with 40% saying they would definitely not vote for him.
The polls suggest a wide-open scenario for the October 7 election. Many still hope an outsider will emerge to claim voters, but so far, this person has not appeared. The deadline for official political party affiliation in order to be able to run in October is April 7.
The views and opinions expressed in The Pulse are PATRI’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Brazil-U.S. Business Council. For additional information please email Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva, at firstname.lastname@example.org.More Testimonials