Bolsonaro's supporters

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By ANDRÉ SINGER*

Analysis and commentary on opinion polls about the president's popularity.

The latest research from the institute Datafolha, held on April 27, showed a new picture, a loss of support for President Bolsonaro in the higher income segments. More precisely in the sector with income above 10 minimum wages and, partly, also in the sector with monthly family income between 5 and 10 minimum wages.

These data confirm what could have been foreseen in mid-March, when the blows against the president began. From that moment on, the president began to participate in demonstrations calling for the closure of Congress and the Federal Supreme Court. At the time, the pandemic had already arrived in Brazil and the Ministry of Health recommended avoiding crowds. The president participated in three demonstrations of this type in Brasília.

In addition to adopting an attitude of disrespect for the guidelines of the Ministry of Health (before the changes of ministers), indications that follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization, the president encouraged demonstrations of an anti-democratic nature.

After that, this loss of support among the higher-income segments was accentuated with the resignation of Minister of Justice Sérgio Moro, who left office denouncing pressure from the president to interfere politically in the Federal Police. These segments, important for the election of President Bolsonaro in 2018, clearly began to move away from him.

Many pointed to a transfer of the support base, with the possible adhesion of popular segments to President Bolsonaro. In fact, this research Datafolha, held on April 27, saw a small increase in support for him among the poorest. This is when compared to the survey taken on the eve of the 2018 first round. This is an increase of five percentage points, very close to the margin of error, if indeed it is not within the margin of error, because now surveys are carried out by telephone. .

This change in methodology – imposed by the pandemic – reduced the reliability of this comparison, which then needs to be relativized. It is useful to do so, but when the numerical difference is small as in this case – especially in relation to voters with a monthly family income of up to two minimum wages – the comparison is not conclusive.

For now, what we have is the hypothesis, which may or may not be confirmed, that the aid of R$600 for the sectors that are being seriously affected by the decrease in the intensity of economic activities may have generated this increase in support for President Bolsonaro.

The question that remains pending – and should be analyzed further on – is what will happen when this aid is interrupted, since it was expected to last only three months.

What is worth pointing out at this moment is the presence of a small oscillation in the numbers of support for the president in the lowest income group. The portion of the population with the highest income is still the sector in which support for President Bolsonro is strongest. Its support is 40% among respondents with monthly family income of more than ten minimum wages. He also obtains considerable support among voters with a monthly family income of two to five minimum wages. It is important to follow up on this data set in future research.

* André Singer He is a professor at the Department of Political Science at USP. Author, among other books, of The senses of lulism (Company of Letters).

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

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