First post-emergency aid poll shows Bolsonaro popularity fall

A poll by PoderData, the first since the program ended, further corroborates the notion that Jair Bolsonaro depends on handouts to be popular

poll emergency aid bolsonaro
Jair Bolsonaro during an event in Jacinto, Minas Gerais. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

Throughout 2020, President Jair Bolsonaro saw his approval ratings climb despite his administration’s mismanagement of the pandemic and an unprecedented economic crisis. But as we repeatedly warned, his popularity numbers were less about his leadership and more a reaction to the government-sponsored coronavirus emergency aid program.

The benefit reached over 67 million people and poured a reported BRL 1 trillion (nearly USD 200 billion) into the economy. Stipends were first pegged at BRL 600 (USD 112) but halved in September and expired completely at the turn of the year. Economists have warned that the absence of a replacement program could cast up to 30 percent of Brazilians below the poverty line.

An opinion poll by PoderData — the first since the program ended — further corroborates the notion that Mr. Bolsonaro depends on handouts to be popular. The administration’s rejection rates jumped from 47 to 52 percent — outside of the margin of error.

Rejection rates are higher among highly-educated voters and those earning between BRL 5,000 and 10,000 (the second-highest income bracket in the poll). On the flip side, lower-educated voters and those living in the North region (most affected by Mr. Bolsonaro’s moves to lift environmental controls to benefit small rural producers) continue to support the president.

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