Dilma Rousseff's popularity plummets amid Brazil protests

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 July, 2013, 4:17am

President Dilma Rousseff's approval rating sank by 27 percentage points in the past three weeks, a new poll has showed.

It's the strongest evidence yet that the recent wave of street protests sweeping Brazil poses a serious threat to her likely re-election bid next year.

The share of people who consider Rousseff's administration "great" or "good" plummeted to 30 per cent from 57 per cent in early June, according to a Datafolha opinion poll published in Folha de S.Paulo on Saturday.

The drop was the sharpest for a Brazilian leader since 1990, when Fernando Collor outraged the population by freezing all savings accounts in a desperate attempt to stop hyperinflation. Two years later Collor resigned the presidency.

Until recently, Rousseff had enjoyed some of the highest approval ratings of any leader in the Western world, largely thanks to record low unemployment.

But discontent over rising consumer prices and the nationwide street demonstrations of the past few weeks have sent shockwaves through a ruling class seen as self-serving and corrupt by many Brazilians.

The unrest has prompted a flurry of promises to improve public services and other measures aimed at quelling the protests. Rousseff is seeking congressional support for a non-binding referendum to ask Brazilians how they would like to see the political system changed.