August 17, 2015

Brazil’s corruption scandal, economy drive Rousseff’s ratings to record low

Demonstrators protest against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and the ruling Workers' Party (PT), at Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Aug., 16, 2015. Photo Credit: Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images
Demonstrators protest against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and the ruling Workers’ Party on Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo on Aug. 16. Photo Credit: Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images.

Driven by concerns over widespread corruption and a downturn in the country’s economy, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s poll ratings have plummeted to their lowest point since she took office in 2010, with a recent Datafolha survey showing only 8% approving of her. Rousseff’s political woes have raised the prospect of impeachment proceedings and brought out hundreds of thousands of protestors across the country on Sunday, many chanting “Dilma Out.”

Rapid Decline in Brazilians' Assessment of EconomyBrazil has experienced a major economic downturn over the past five years, since President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva left office. In 2010, Brazil was enjoying 7.6% GDP growth, making it the world’s seventh largest economy.

In 2010, 62% of Brazilians described the economic situation in their country as good. But as growth diminished more rapidly in recent years, public assessment of the economic health of the nation also has fallen sharply, by 27 percentage points from 2013 to 2014. In addition, a 2014 Pew Research Center survey found that 63% of Brazilians disapproved of the way Rousseff was handling the economy.

With a projected contraction in Brazil’s economy over the next 12 months, things look even bleaker for this year. Only 13% of those surveyed by Pew Research last spring say economic conditions are good. From 2013 to 2015, Brazilians’ perception of their economy fell by a staggering 46 percentage points.

Brazilians' Views of Their Country WaneTo make matters worse, Brazil is experiencing one of the worst corruption scandals in the country’s history. An investigation of state-controlled oil company Petrobras, Operation Car Wash, has been underway since 2014. In the spring of the same year, 86% of the Brazilian public voiced disapproval of Rousseff’s handling of corruption in the country, and 78% cited corrupt political leaders as a very big problem.

Only six-in-ten Brazilians now have a favorable view of their own country, with 39% voicing an unfavorable opinion. This includes a sharp decline in opinion of Brazil in the past year, with favorable views dropping 17 percentage points since 2014. 

Note: See here for topline results and methodology for Brazilians’ attitudes toward their own country.

Topics: Latin America, Economic Recession, Non-U.S. Political Leaders, World Economies, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Foreign News

  1. Photo of Hani Zainulbhai

    is a research analyst focusing on global attitudes at Pew Research Center.


  1. marcus vallerius1 year ago

    In Brazil, Lula and Dilma Rousseff were the only ones to provide a huge opportunity for the brazilian poorest populations that were out of real social inclusion in the former governments. In fact, such acchievements were not possible through brazilian right-wing governments that had only bartered with social groups. At second, corruption in Brazil is endemic, it is even more stronger where politicians like Alckmin are on the leadership. Brasilia and São Paulo are perfect examples of corrupt places in brazilian history: São Paulo, for instance, estabilished the Coffee and Milk policy in the Old Republic times, when thousands of immigrants had their freedom seized by the Coffee Barons. In fact, the crisis of confidence always existed among the main industrial and political leadership in São Paulo since its foundation by the Catholic Church in 1554 by the Societas Lesu (Jesuit priests) and portuguese settlers. In addiction, all the States in Brazil were built through a corruption arrangement system since the territorial division into twelve Hereditary Captaincies in 1554. Furthermore it also based its progress on torturing and enslaving the Negroes. It is not that hard to figure out that the more industrial and populous a State is, the more corrupt it can be. At last, Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff were the only ones to step an opposite way quite different from the local capitalist and oligarchy manners. Listen to what a known jurist tells about São Paulo politicians:

  2. Marcos2 years ago

    Dilma, Lula, and PT are corrupt, communist, marxists. Gay Rights? And about Christian Values?

  3. Carlos veloso2 years ago

    As a Brazilian I don’t think an impeachment to Dilma would work, Brazilians are mad because of corruption and high inflation rates which is totally understandable, but if Dilma left the person who would take the place as the president would be a very conservative right-wing man, which it would be awful for the country or any country actually, he would likely want to make Brazil a theocracy, take away the rights to gays to marrying, it would be awful! Majority of brazilians who took the streets against Dilma really doesn’t know about that, they’re there against Dilma but they don’t know how bad the country will become without her, seriously, Dilma might be a bad president but the best is wait to the 2018 elections.

    1. Karl Zaremba2 years ago

      Wow, I am all for Gays marrying who they choose and all that but it sounds like you are willing to watch the country falter in order to further the rights of gays to marry. It would be nice to have both a thriving economy and Gay Rights but I would think Gay Rights in a stinkin economy would make for an easy choice. I am hoping you dont mean that quite like it is written.