Brazilian president's popularity hits new low ahead of election year

Brazilian president's popularity hits new low ahead of election year
© Stefani Reynolds

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s approval rating has reached a new low ahead of next year’s presidential election, with criticism mounting over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and rising inflation, among other issues. 

The poll, conducted by Brazilian data firm Datafolha, found that 53 percent of Brazilians disapproved of Bolsonaro’s job performance, up from the 51 percent in July, according to Reuters

Meanwhile, just 22 percent said the president was doing a “good or excellent” job, compared to 24 percent in the previous poll. 

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While Bolsonaro has yet to officially announce plans to seek reelection, Reuters noted that recent polling shows him trailing behind his likely opponent, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. 

In addition to a worsening economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has fueled high unemployment rates, Bolsonaro has also faced attacks for his unsupported allegations of widespread fraud in the country’s electoral system.

Bolsonaro also said at a series of rallies earlier this month that he would no longer recognize the rulings of one of the country’s Supreme Court justices, fueling concerns among opponents that he will undermine democratic institutions. 

Reuters noted that the far-right president later walked back his comments, which came as he also faces several impeachment proposals in Brazil’s Congress. 

Late last month, Bolsonaro said in a meeting with evangelical leaders that he had “three alternatives for my future: being arrested, killed or victory” in the next election — and he said prison was not an option. 

Bolsonaro has also been accused of spreading coronavirus misinformation, prompting YouTube to remove videos from his channel in July. 

The video-sharing platform said at the time that its “policies don’t allow content that claims hydroxychloroquine and/or Ivermectin are effective to treat or prevent COVID-19, claims that there is a guaranteed cure for COVID-19, and claims that masks don’t work to prevent the spread of the virus.” 

In what appeared to be a response to social media companies removing misleading content from Bolsonaro and his supporters, the president announced last week that he would be blocking platforms from deleting some posts in an effort to defend “freedom of speech."

The Datafolha poll, which included responses from 3,667 people across Brazil, had a margin of error of two percentage points, according to Reuters.