BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s government approval ratings have soared, with the far-right leader enjoying growing popularity even as Brazil suffers from the world’s second-highest COVID-19 death toll, a poll showed on Thursday.
The number of Brazilians who think their government is good or good has risen to 40% from 29% in December, while those who view it as bad or bad have fallen to 29% from 38% in the previous poll, a survey by CNI / Said Ibope.
While Bolsonaro has been criticized by health experts for minimizing the severity of the coronavirus and opposing lockdowns to keep the economy going, 50% of those surveyed said they approved of how to run the country, compared with 41% in December.
The Ibope poll, conducted by industry lobby CNI, is in line with another recent survey showing its popularity is increasing thanks to emergency payments made to low-income and informal sector workers who lost their livelihoods during the pandemic.
Those who disapprove of Bolsonaro’s government have fallen to 41% now from 53% in December, the poll said.
Public trust in the president has also improved, with 46% of those surveyed saying they trust Bolsonaro, compared with 41% in December. Those who don’t believe it have fallen to 51% from 56% in December.
Pollster Ibope has not conducted a survey since December because of the pandemic, which has killed 139,000 Brazilians since March, the highest death toll after the United States.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases now exceed 4.6 million, the third worst outbreak after the United States and India.
In December, Bolsonaro’s government approval ratings continued to fall due to Brazil’s weak economic recovery.
Ibope surveyed 2,000 people between September 17-20. Surveys have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Reporting by Anthony Boadle; editing by Stephen Eisenhammer
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