The impact of emergency aid

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By ANDRÉ SINGER*

The consolidation of the president's current approval rating will depend completely on the decision on the direction of economic policy

Data from the recent survey by the Datafolha Institute show that President Jair M. Bolsonaro's approval has risen by five percentage points. This increase is part of a trend already indicated by commentators attentive to the repercussions of the government's payment of emergency aid. This is a significant value in regions where the cost of living is low. They are 600 reais, and can reach 1200 reais depending on whether there is a family member in the house.

Everything indicates that the factor that is producing the main effect in increasing the approval of the current President of the Republic is emergency aid. Some specific research data confirm this. In the Northeast, for example, rejection dropped from 52% to 35%, a significant drop and it is known that the Northeast is a region in which emergency aid is particularly important.

In addition, Datafolha disclosed, in an analysis of its directors, that of these five points of growth (approval rose from 32% to 37%) three percentage points came from informal workers or unemployed people with monthly family income of up to three minimum wages , sectors that also depend heavily on emergency aid. In the same direction, it can be observed that the president's approval rate also improved among low-income women.

It should be noted that there was also an increase in presidential popularity among upper income strata, a sector in which emergency aid obviously has no weight or very limited weight. We do not have enough data to explain this increase. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that since mid-June, when former PM Fabrício Queiroz was arrested, the president has moderated his speeches and also some attitudes and is transmitting an image of greater control. On this, however, it is necessary to wait for other surveys to know if this is the factor that is effectively influencing voters in the middle classes.

The consolidation or otherwise of the president's approval rating will depend completely on the government's decision on the direction of economic policy. In recent weeks, a division within the government has become visible. There are those who want to take advantage of this wave of greater approval that the president has been having to extend emergency aid and perhaps seek a way out of emergency aid towards a program with higher expenses than the Bolsa Família program. The issue is that this alternative costs a lot of money and the government has restrictions based on its ultraliberal orientation in expanding public spending. As a result, speculations arose about the possible departure of minister Paulo Guedes from the government.

We do not have sufficient indications to predict which decision will be taken. If the decision is in favor of a change in economic policy in the sense of favoring the low-income strata, this approval may move in the direction of a path of consolidation. Otherwise, this is unlikely to happen.

*André Singer is a professor of political science at USP. Author, among other books, of Lulism in Crisis(Company of Letters).

Text established from an interview given to Gustavo Xavier, on USP radio.

 

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