Bolsonaro's popularity falls amid pandemic pressure

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Gabriel Toueg

SAO PAULO (AA) – A survey of Brazilians showed for the first time in months a drop in support for President Jair Bolsonaro amid the worsening coronavirus situation in the country and the dubious conducting of the vaccination process which officially began Monday in states.

The share of the population that considers the Bolsonaro administration to be bad or very bad has risen from 35% to 40%, while those who consider it good or great have dropped from 38% to 32%.

It marks the first time since last May that there has been an increase in the percentage of those critical of the government and a reduction among supporters. The survey also indicates for the first time since July negative ratings higher than positive ones.

The data coincide with a worsening in the perception of Bolsonaro's performance in confronting the coronavirus and occurs amid growing pressure from the opposition and the population to put one of the more than 60 Bolsonaro impeachment requests to a vote in Congress.

With regard to Bolsonaro’s performance in facing the pandemic, the survey indicates that 52% consider it to be bad or very bad, 4 points more than in December. The XP/Ipespe survey conducted 1,000 nationwide interviews from Jan. 11-14. The margin of error is 3.2 percentage points.

The most recent data from the pandemic show that more than 209,900 people died in the country.

The survey also probed the population's willingness to get vaccinated, with 69% saying they will take the doses “with certainty.” However, among Bolsonaro's declared voters in 2018, 58% say they will be vaccinated "with certainty" while 78% of other voters declared the same intention, a difference of 20 percentage points.

The data were released as vaccination in Brazil begins amid problems. Today, the Ministry of Health created confusion over flights that would take the doses to the states, left authorities waiting at airports and delayed vaccination. According to the most updated schedule, several states will only receive packages overnight, delaying the start of immunization.

The day after Sao Paulo started immunizing, governors pressured Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello to start vaccinating earlier than originally scheduled, which would be on Wednesday only. People in cities across Brazil began to get their doses.

There is also a fear that the supplies needed to produce doses locally will not arrive in time to continue immunization. Both Brazil’s Butantan Institute, which will manufacture the CoronaVac vaccine in association with Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, and Brazil’s Fiocruz, which will produce the AstraZeneca vaccine locally, are on alert because of an impoundment promoted by the Chinese government. In Sao Paulo, the inventory of the active ingredient of CoronaVac only allows formulation and packaging until the end of January.