Lula's popularity

Clara Figueiredo, series_ Brasília_ fungi and simulacra, esplanade, 2018


For the government to succeed – and prevent the return of the extreme right in 2026 – it needs more willingness to confront it. This starts by changing government communication

The economic indicators that usually have the greatest political impact are not bad – modest but not irrelevant GDP growth, increased labor income, reduced unemployment rate. Still, polls say Lula's popularity is declining. Why?

Not that Quaest's research, which created so much buzz, deserves much attention.

Opinion polls are based on questionable assumptions, which are hardly worth repeating – in particular, the triple epistemological flaw that causes the answer to a questionnaire, imposed based on concerns that are not necessarily those of the person, to be accepted as a “ opinion” that defines behavior.

Quaest's question about Hitler is a beautiful example of what I'm talking about.

Furthermore, opinion polls share with their twins, voting intention polls, the methodological problems that have made them so wrong in recent times. Opinion polls, however, do not face the challenge that elections represent for polls of voting intentions, so they can make mistakes at will that will continue to be accepted as truth.

Still, the numbers match what any observer of Brazilian reality is capable of seeing. The Lula government is not exciting and the Bolsonarist base is not going into retraction.

Reading the press, there are those who say that unresolved problems, such as public security, impact the population's state of mind more than the economy. Another aspect likes to put itself in the position of giving advice to the president.

As an example, I take the column by the notorious Elio Gaspari, in Folha S. Paulo this Sunday. In short, he said that Lula is being poorly evaluated for two reasons. One is to have criticized Israel. The other would be to have “forgotten” the broad front.

It's the usual conversation: the problem, oddly enough, is that the government is too far to the left. If it were up to Elio Gaspari and many of his colleagues, Lula would delegate all decisions to, I don't know, Michel Temer.

I would say it's exactly the opposite. What is missing is the ability to clearly assert itself as left-wing.

Pressured by an extreme right that is still capable of mobilization, by an increasingly greedy and aggressive Congress and by allies of the “broad front” who want conservative policies, Lula is unable to put on the streets policies that have the government's stamp and clearly reverberate in the lives of the majority.

In the economy, “fiscal balance” remains the alpha and omega of all decisions. Every now and then, Lula rehearses a rebellion, but it soon passes. It looks like a game.

The ministries seem doomed to function as money transfer machines for Centrão politicians. Effective policies are left with the leftovers.

Education seems willing to implement the business vision embodied in the infamous New Secondary Education. Health is praised for the end of denialism, but no progress has yet been seen, for example, in resuming vaccination coverage.

The left in the government was largely restricted to identity gestures and occupying positions that were more symbolic than those with actual power. The failure of the operation to protect the Yanomami people is an emblem of this situation.

Paulo Teixeira, in Agrarian Development, raised expectations when he took office, but nothing progressed in agrarian reform. Luiz Marinho, at Trabalho, is being forced to backtrack on the crucial issue of regulating labor relations in applications.

Bankers, generals, parliamentarians, pastors – in front of each of these groups, the government seems to have only one slogan: retreat.

It is easier to tighten the public service, cut funding for education and science, and follow the usual routine.

For the government to succeed – and prevent the return of the extreme right in 2026 – it needs more willingness to confront it. This starts by changing government communication, making a pedagogical effort to show which interests are in conflict and which side each one is on.

But when the president of the PT, deputy Gleisi Hoffmann, declares with satisfaction that the government does not dispute values ​​– she who, for the press, is a “radical” voice of PTism – it is because we are really screwed.

* Luis Felipe Miguel He is a professor at the Institute of Political Science at UnB. Author, among other books, of Democracy in the capitalist periphery: impasses in Brazil (authentic). []

Originally posted on the author's social media.

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