Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his administration's approval rating soared to a record 80.3% and 71.1%, respectively, during November, the highest for a Brazilian leader and his government since 1998, according to a poll from Instituto Sensus released in Brazilian capital BrasÀlia.
The government's approval rating climbed from 68.8% in September, while Lula's own performance rating increased from 77.7% in that same month.
The Brazilian president's popularity may have benefited from Brazil's economic growth after GDP expanded 6.8% in the third quarter from a year earlier, the fastest pace in four years.
Sensus also asked Brazilians about the possible candidates for presidential elections in 2010 when Lula's second term is up and can't be re-elected for another immediate period.
The presidential hopeful with most chances during November 2008 was São Paulo governor José Serra, with 46.5% support. Serra was defeated in 2002 by Lula, but has proven a formidable adversary having recovered Brazil's most important and influential state, São Paulo.
Runner up was Marxist Heloísa Helena Lima from the Socialism and Liberty party, which broke away from Lula da Silva's Workers Party. She appears with a 12.5% support and in third place, Dilma Rousseff, (10.4%) currently cabinet chief and whom Lula has said would make an "ideal candidate" and follower of his policies.
Sensus polled 2,000 people in 136 municipalities from December 8 to December 12. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The poll was commissioned by the National Transportation Confederation
In spite of the record support political analysts point out to the fact that LatAm's largest economy will lose steam this quarter as companies eliminate jobs and cut sales forecasts due to tighter credit conditions.
Automakers slashed jobs in November; the country's leading mining company Vale sliced iron-ore output by 10% and fired 1,300 workers, while food maker Sadia SA delayed plans to build a 700 million-real (US$ 294-million) facility in Santa Catarina state.
Moreover, Morgan Stanley predicts Brazil's economy may not grow at all next year.