The approval rating of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s government has jumped, with the leader enjoying growing popularity even as Brazil suffers the world’s second highest COVID-19 death-toll, a poll showed on Thursday.
The number of Brazilians that rate his government as great or good has risen to 40% from 29% in December, while those that view it as bad or terrible has dropped to 29% from 38% in the previous poll, the survey by CNI/Ibope said.
While Bolsonaro has been criticized by health experts for minimizing the severity of the coronavirus and opposing lockdowns in order to keep the economy going, 50% of those polled said they approved of his way of governing the country, compared with 41% in December.
The Ibope poll, commissioned by industry lobby CNI, is in line with other recent surveys that show his popularity rising thanks in large part to emergency payments made to low-income and informal sector workers who have lost livelihoods during the pandemic.
Those that do not approve of Bolsonaro’s government has dropped to 41% now from 53% in December, the poll said.
Public confidence in the president has also risen, with 46% of those polled saying they trust Bolsonaro, compared with 41% in December. Those who do not trust him has declined to 51% from 56% in December.
Pollster Ibope had not done a survey since December due to the pandemic, which has killed 139,000 Brazilians since March, the highest death toll after the United States.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 now exceed 4.6 million, the third worst outbreak after the United States and India.
In December, the Bolsonaro government’s approval rating had been dropping steadily due to Brazil’s weak economic recovery.
Ibope polled 2,000 people between Sept. 17-20. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.