Brazil poll shows Temer approval plummets on new graft charges

September 29, 2017

September 28 2017 (Reuters)

BRASILIA (Reuters) – The approval rating for Brazilian President Michel Temer’s scandal-plagued government has sunk further since new corruption charges were brought against him, and 92 percent of Brazilians do not trust him, a new poll published on Thursday showed.

The survey by pollster Ibope said the number of people who consider Temer’s government “bad” or “terrible” rose to 77 percent from 70 percent in the previous survey carried out in July. The proportion of those who rate his government as “great” or “good” slipped to just 3 percent from 5 percent.

Only 6 percent of Brazilians still trust Temer, down from 10 percent, the poll said.

The government’s approval rating collapsed in July after Temer was hit by a first corruption charge that was blocked by Congress in August, which saved him from standing trial before the Supreme Court.

But federal prosecutors filed new accusations against him of obstructing justice and being a member of a criminal organization in a corruption case involving the owners of the world’s largest meatpacker JBS SA.

They accused Temer of taking bribes in return for political favors and of conspiring to buy the silence of a witness who could implicate the president.

The lower house of Congress, which has the authority to decide whether a president should be put on trial, is expected to vote on the new charges in mid-October at the earliest.

Analysts expect the Congress to again reject a Supreme Court trial for Temer, putting him on course to serve out his term until the end of 2018.

But the corruption debate will delay passage of his plan to overhaul Brazil’s costly pension system, a key measure to bring a gaping budget deficit under control.

“He was already a very unpopular president proposing unpopular measures. Now there is the perception that he, his cabinet and his ruling coalition are involved in a series of wrongdoings,” said Lucas de Aragão, partner at the Brasilia-based political risk consultancy Arko Advice.

Temer’s ratings have fallen below the worst result of his predecessor Dilma Rousseff, whom he succeeded when she was impeached last year.

Rousseff and her Workers Party called her ouster a “coup” orchestrated by Temer and his allies so they could shield themselves from corruption investigations.

Thursday’s poll was commissioned by the National Confederation of Industry lobby and surveyed 2,000 people between Sept. 15-20 across Brazil. It has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.