According to the latest National Confederation of Transportation (CNT) / Sensus poll, 48.3 percent of those
interviewed in August had a positive opinion of the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva government, compared to 46.3 percent in the prior
survey. The positive opinion of the president himself dropped slightly, from 77.6 percent to 76.7 percent.
This was the 64th CNT/Sensus opinion poll. Two thousand people were interviewed between the 20th and 22nd of
August in 195 municipalities around the country.
In analyzing the survey, the CNT president, Clésion Andrade, declared that Lula's personality and ability to
communicate, along with the reduction of the country's key interest rate and the approval of the social security reform bill in
congress contributed to the positive rating.
Mid July, another Sensus survey, conducted at the request of the National Industrial Confederation (CNI), found
that Brazilians were a little more tolerant regarding Lula with people willing to give him more time to find ways to change
their lives for the better. In the prior Sensus survey people were willing to wait 2.4 years. In the latest survey that rose to 2.5
years. At the beginning of the Lula term of office, the time people were willing to wait for results was 1.8 years.
According to the CNI president, Clesion Andrade, the survey shows a high level of popular expectations regarding
the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva administration. That survey interviewed 2,000 persons between July 9 and 11. It was
conducted in 195 municipalities in 24 states.
"The present administration has adopted some harsh measures, but the survey shows people believe the problems
began in the past. The prevailing idea is that Lula is adopting strong medicine now so there will be a healthier future,"
The survey, which had a 3 percentage point margin of error, found that 41.4 percent of those interviewed said they
blamed the Fernando Henrique Cardoso government for the high unemployment in the country. For 19.9 percent, the cause
of unemployment was inflation; for 6.1 percent, the Lula government was at fault; 5.6 percent said businesses were
causing unemployment; 1.8 percent said banks were to blame.
Another Sensus survey at the beginning of the Lula government in January found that 78.2 percent of those
interviewed believed the new government would reduce unemployment. Later that number fell to 59.2 percent. At the same time, the
number of interviewees who believe unemployment will increase during the Lula government rose from 10.3 percent (January)
to 22.8 percent. Interviewees also cited the eight years Cardoso was in power as responsible for the country's heavier tax burden.
The July survey also found that the number of people who believe Lula will need another term of office to make the
changes the country needs rose from 20.4 percent in May, to 22.6 percent. Andrade of the CNI says that coincides with Lula's
high popularity ratings after six months in office.
"With people believing strongly in the president, their level of tolerance has risen. They are willing to wait longer
for results. There is a feeling that if Lula can't do something it is because someone is not allowing him to do it," observed
Andrade. According to the CNI president, in general the public seems to have separated the image of Lula from that of the government.
Proof of that separation in people's minds, says Andrade, is the fact that while Lula's popularity remains high, the
approval rating of the government has fallen from 51.6 percent in May to 46.3 percent. And the disapproval rating rose
from 7.2 percent to 10.3 percent.
The majority of interviewees, 83.5 percent, said Brazilians pay heavy taxes. A total of 76.2 percent said the
government collects a lot and spends it badly (only 5.5 percent said the government spends money well). Interviewees also cited the
eight years Cardoso was in power as responsible for the country's heavier tax burden.
The survey also asked about institutions the people trust. In first place, as in a previous survey, came churches (44.3
percent) - up from 36.3 percent in a previous survey). The Armed Forces (12 percent - down from 19.3 percent)) were in second
place. In third place, the media. In fourth place, the Judicial system (9.7 percent - down from 14.9 percent).
According to Andrade of the CNI, there was a drop in the ratings of the Armed Forces and the Judicial system due to
the discussion of social security reform. What the fall in their prestige shows is popular support for social security changes,
which will remove the privileges those groups have in relation to the rest of the population.
On the list of trustworthy institutions, the Congress is in last place (1.5 percent). Also at the bottom of the list are the
police (5.4 percent) and the federal government (4.1 percent). The generalized distrust of politicians is also apparent in the
item dealing with campaign financing. Only 2.3 percent of those interviewed want public money used to pay for political
campaigns (this is exactly what a reform bill now in congress calls for). 35.9 percent said candidates should pay for their
own campaigns. 25.1 percent said parties should help pay for campaigns (17.2 percent said the "ticket" should foot the bill).
And 6.3 percent said donations should pay for political races.
"The impression people have of politicians is: they do not work much, they do get paid a lot, so let them spend their
own money," explains Andrade of the CNI.
The survey also asked about gun control. The result was that 63.6 percent of those interviewed said they favored
the government's desire to prohibit guns; 32.1 percent said they did not want any control.
A total of 86.4 percent of those interviewed said violence had increased during the last six months and that 41.4
percent said they expected a further increase in the next six months, with 31.6 percent saying violence would decrease.
As for the future, with regard to income and earnings, 38.3 percent said they thought their income would be
recovered within the next six months (compared to 40 percent in May). According to 90.5 percent of those interviewed, prices
have risen this year.
Finally, the Citizen Satisfaction Index (ISC) was 51.21 in July, compared to 51.25 in May.
The material for this article was supplied by Agência Brasil (AB), the official press agency of the Brazilian
government. Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org