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Brazzil - Politics - June 2004

Brazil: Lula Beats Cardoso in 2006

In a hypothetical election against former president Fernando
Henrique Cardoso, Brazilian President Lula would beat his
predecessor. An opinion poll by Ibope reveals that 33 percent of
Brazilians would vote for Lula and 16 percent for Cardoso in the
first round. A runoff vote would be needed to choose the winner.

Irene Lôbo


Picture In the first public opinion poll for the 2006 Brazilian presidential elections, run by the CNI (Confederação Nacional da Indústria—National Confederation of Industry) and Ibope (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística—Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is the favorite.

Running against José Serra again, Lula had 30 percent and Serra 25 percent. In another hypothetical election, this time against former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Lula had 33 percent and Cardoso 16 percent. In both cases, there would have to be a second, runoff vote.

A breakdown of the poll shows that Lula is more popular against Serra with male voters: 34 percent to 23 percent. But the ladies prefer Serra 28 percent to 25 percent for Lula.

The survey interviewed 2,000 voters over the age of 16 in 140 municipalities between the 17 and 21 of June. The margin of error is give or take 2.2 percentage points.

Meanwhile, fear of unemployment remains high among Brazilians. Three months ago a CNI/Ibope poll found that 54 percent of those interviewed thought unemployment would rise. The latest survey has found that 55 percent now think there will be fewer jobs.

However, a breakdown of the survey shows that among those with higher levels of education and income there is more optimism than three months ago. The opposite is true among those with lower education levels and income: they are more pessimistic.

"The view from the bottom of the social pyramid is worse, at least regarding jobs," explains Amauri Teixeira, a marketing specialist who analyzed the CNI/Ibope poll data.

Unemployment is just one reason for the drop in Lula's popularity among Brazilians. According to the latest CNI/Ibope survey, the percentage of those interviewed who say that the government is doing better than they expected fell from 27 percent in March, to 24 percent now.

In March, 32 percent of those interviewed said the government was worse than they expected. That number has now risen to 39 percent.

When asked to compare the Lula and Cardoso administrations, 42 percent say Lula is better; 29 percent say they are the same; and 26 percent say Lula is worse. In March, those numbers were 44 percent, 31 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

When people were asked what they thought were the most important things for the government to do they answered lower taxes (32 percent), bring inflation down (30 percent) and reduce interest rates (26 percent).

Compared to the last poll, a significant increase in the number of people concerned with interest rates can be seen. "It is not the item of greatest disapproval. But it is the item where disapproval rose most," explains Marco Antonio Guarita, the CNI president.

As for the thing they most remembered about the government, the three events most cited were: the small increase of the minimum wage (23 percent), the president's trip to China (10 percent) and Operation Vampire (3 percent), which dealt with a scandal involving blood banks.

Against Cultural Oligarchies

Speaking at the opening of the World Cultural Forum in São Paulo June 29, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called on developing nations to join the fight against the oligarchies that dominate world culture.

"The production of world culture is dominated by a few, powerful oligarchies. That fact makes it more necessary to set up strategic partnerships which will enable us to face the challenge of finding room for our products and services. And that is one of the most important objectives of this World Cultural Forum," said Lula.

The President went on to say once again that culture is one of his administration's priorities. "Culture and cultural production need to be seen as factors that create jobs and income, while reducing social inequality. They also boost citizenship and sovereignty in the context of globalization.

"We are very much aware that while expressions of culture mirror our diversity, they are also essential elements in our development as a nation," declared the President.

"In this globalized world, the more culture expresses local color, the greater its comparative advantage," he concluded.

Irene Lôbo works for Agência Brasil (AB), the official press agency of the Brazilian government. Comments are welcome at lia@radiobras.gov.br
Translated from the Portuguese by Allen Bennett.

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