Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro didn’t get to have his proverbial 100-day honeymoon. His first couple of months in office were riddled with scandals involving his sons and one of his closest allies. He was also a nervous bystander in an intense battle in Congress for the election of the House Speaker and Senate President (which ended up being one loss and one win for the government), and he flopped at his international debut at the World Economic Forum in Davos. And that’s not to mention the two weeks the presidency was pretty much vacant, as Mr. Bolsonaro recovered from an abdominal surgery late in January.

But how have voters perceived the administration’s first steps?

According to the first opinion poll since the new president was inaugurated, almost 40 percent of Brazilian voters consider Mr. Bolsonaro’s first two months in office as either good or great.

Mr. Bolsonaro’s initial poll results are significantly worse than his predecessors’. Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Lula started their terms with 57 and 56 percent of approval, while Dilma Rousseff began her term with a rating of 49 percent.

(Michel Temer doesn’t factor into the equation as he took office after an impeachment process, and had not won a presidential election himself.)


bolsonaro popularity


Mr. Bolsonaro is also underperforming when we look at his polling numbers after the election. Polling institutes showed that up to 75 percent of people believed Mr. Bolsonaro was going in the right direction, just weeks before his inauguration.

“This abrupt fall is due to the government’s confusion. There have been too many faux pas in the space of just two months,” says political scientist José Alvaro Moisés, a professor at the University of São Paulo. “On one side, it shows that the honeymoon period is getting shorter and shorter for new presidents—and that the current administration has wasted a lot of time.”

Glass half full

While Mr. Bolsonaro is not exactly a king of popularity after two months in office, he has posted the highest approval rating for a sitting president since Dilma Rousseff in September 2014. This previous high came during Ms. Rousseff’s re-election campaign, while she drummed all the accomplishments of the Workers’ Party’s administrations at the federal level into the heads of the voting public.

Moreover, looking to the future under Jair Bolsonaro, Brazilians are largely optimistic. More people believe that things will get improve in terms of employment, healthcare, education, and public safety than those who don’t. The only thing scaring Brazilian voters right now is the risk of seeing their income shrink.

For an administration that hasn’t done anything significant up to this point (except from presenting a pension reform overhaul that has yet to undergo a drawn-out congressional process), it is quite a big number.


bolsonaro popularity


How Congress sees Jair Bolsonaro’s first couple of months

Brokerage firm XP conducted a survey in Congress to measure the atmosphere among the president and the legislative branch of government.

The general perception among members of parliament is that the different branches of government are getting along just fine. Even with the grotesque spectacle witnessed during the election for Senate President earlier this month. At the time, government allies tried to force a change in the rules of the election, replacing a secret ballot for an open one. The intention was to pressure Senators into voting against then-favorite Renan Calheiros—who ended up losing to the relatively inexperienced Davi Alcolumbre, who is in the president’s corner.

An overwhelming majority believes that the pension reform bill is necessary. However, which reform do congressmen want? Only 27 percent of them are on board with the government’s proposal of a minimum retirement age of 62 for women and 65 for men.

As negotiations in Congress around the reform begin, Mr. Bolsonaro will have to show political skill in order to avoid the watering down of the reform—which could sink his administration from the start.


bolsonaro popularity


bolsonaro popularity


bolsonaro popularity


bolsonaro popularity

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PowerFeb 26, 2019

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BY The Brazilian Report

We are an in-depth content platform about Brazil, made by Brazilians and destined to foreign audiences.