Brazilians are more pessimistic about the future of the country now than they were right after the first round of the 2018 elections, according to an Ipsos poll.
In the latest edition of the survey, conducted between late April and early May, 59% of Brazilians said they believed the country was going “in the wrong direction.” In the previous edition of the survey (March-April), the number of pessimists was slightly lower: 55% thought this way.
Overall, according to the survey, Brazilians had a peak of optimism right after the first round of the 2018 elections on October 7: at that time, the number of people who believed the country was in the right direction reached 50% – the other 50 percent thought the country was in the wrong direction.
Ipsos research is done every month in 28 countries around the world. The total sample is 19,529 people interviewed through the internet. In Brazil, the sample is just over one thousand individuals between 16 and 64 years old, and the margin of error is 3.1 percentage points, plus or minus.
Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) was elected president of the Republic last year with 57.7 million votes – and the change of government contributed to soften the pessimism of Brazilians with the future.
Over the past few years, Ipsos research has shown Brazilians in a true valley of pessimism – by the end of 2018 we were the most dissatisfied with their own course among 24 surveyed nations.
Marcos Calliari, CEO of Ipsos for Brazil, tells BBC News Brazil that the company observed the same pattern in the last presidential election in the United States, in 2016. “The election, especially for President of the Republic, usually brings this moment of optimism,” he says. “And even more so in a case as extreme as Brazil, where more than 90% of the population came to believe that the country was going in the wrong direction (in 2018),” he says.
Ipsos research also shows that Brazilians are not particularly pessimistic when compared to citizens of other countries surveyed. On the global average, 58% of people think their countries are going in the wrong direction – one point less than Brazil.
Globally, the most optimistic countries are China (91% think the country is heading in the right direction), Saudi Arabia (82%), and India (71%). All three countries have in common strong economic growth in recent years.
According to Marcos Calliari, the high levels of “optimism” in these countries are explained by the good economic performance and also by the fact that, as the first two do not have an independent government press, citizens often do not realize their problems.
The most pessimistic countries, on the other hand, are South Africa (where 82% of citizens see the country going in the wrong direction), France (80%) and Great Britain (79%).
Today, violence is the biggest concern of Brazilians, and corruption has lost importance
The Ipsos survey also asked people to list their top three concerns at the moment. In Brazil, 47% responded that violence was the main problem – followed by the quality of health care (46%) and unemployment (39%).
Corruption, which came to rank as the main concern of Brazilians in 2016, lost relative relevance – it was cited by 38% of respondents, in 4th place.
According to Calliari, corruption was most prevalent in the minds of Brazilians at the height of the Lava Jato operation, when the topic was often in the news. The number of people concerned about corruption has been on a downward trend in the country since September 2018. In the latest issue of the Ipsos survey, 42% of Brazilians said they were concerned about corruption.