In the first public opinion poll for the 2006 Brazilian presidential elections,
run by the CNI (Confederação Nacional da IndústriaNational
Confederation of Industry) and Ibope (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e
EstatísticaBrazilian 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
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,"
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 email@example.com
from the Portuguese by Allen Bennett.