Michelle Bachelet and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, two outgoing South American presidents have reached record popularity according to the latest January public opinion polls. Bachelet from Chile and Brazil’s Lula, both have over 80% of approval.
President Lula who this year completes the fourth year of his second mandate and will be leaving office next January 1st, 2011, has an approval rating of 81%, according to the latest release from consultants Sensus.
“The popularity of the president and his government continues strong and rising because of the good numbers of the economy, the positive results of social policies and the high employment index.” according to Ricardo Guedes, head of Census.
This strong public opinion support seems to have permeated in benefit of cabinet chief Dilma Rousseff who President Lula would like to see nominated as the ruling coalition’s candidate and his successor in this month’s convention.
Ms Rousseff already has 27.8% support compared to 33.2% for the opposition candidate and governor of São Paulo state, José Serra.
Only a few months ago the polls were showing Serra with a 40% vote intention while Rousseff hardly managed 15%.
Ms. Bachelet support in January reached 85% approval in spite of the fact the ruling left wing coalition she represents was overwhelmingly defeated by the conservatives in the recent presidential election.
Consultants Adimark-GFK reported that 95% of interviews showed that Ms Bachelet “is loved by all Chileans” and 88% consider her honest, reliable and trustworthy.
Roberto Izikson, head of Adimark Public Studies said that “President Bachelet has managed a rare personal direct harmony with the people” and her leadership does not rest on “traditional political leadership but on personal connection, based on her capacity to communicate with public opinion, her social protection strategy and the way she can reach out”.
Her personal standing has also helped the rating of her administration which has a 65% approval. Ms Bachelet will be leaving office next March 11 when Sebastian Piñera will be taking office, the first conservative in over half a century.