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Brazil economy boosts Lula, not his candidate-poll

December 8th, 2009
Dilma Rousseff

Dilma Rousseff and Lula

Brazil’s recovering economy has boosted President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s popularity but done little to improve the prospects of his chosen candidate in next year’s election, a poll showed on Monday.

Lula, whose stimulus package helped pull Brazil out of a recession in the second quarter of this year, returned to the high popularity he enjoyed before the global financial crisis, the Ibope poll showed.

His approval rating rose to 83 percent, compared with 81 percent three months ago and an all-time high of 84 percent in December of last year.

“There’s been an improvement across the board, in terms of the Lula government’s approval rating,” Rafael Luchesi, operations director of the National Industry Confederation, or CNI, which published the poll, told a news conference.

The reason for Lula’s support was a record level of consumer confidence, said Luchesi.

Of those polled, 92 percent said their expectations for next year were good or very good, the best level on record. Fifty-seven percent said they approved of the way Lula was handling unemployment.

Lula’s chosen candidate in next October’s presidential race, chief of staff Dilma Rousseff, did not benefit much from the improving economy.

Some 17 percent of those surveyed said they planned to vote for her, up just 2 points. Rousseff is still largely unknown, the poll showed, despite her frequent public appearances beside Lula.

Sao Paulo state Governor Jose Serra of the opposition PSDB party gained 3 percentage points, with 38 percent saying they intend to vote for the front-runner.

Lula by law cannot run for a third, consecutive term.

Brazil’s economy, the largest in Latin America, is expected to grow 0.2 percent this year and 5 percent next year.

The survey polled 2,002 people from Nov. 26-30 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. (Reporting by Natuza Nery; writing by Raymond Colitt; editing by Xavier Briand)

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