Even after a Brazilian court upheld a corruption conviction against him, former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva’s popularity continues to rise.
According to an opinion poll by MDA commissioned by the national transport lobby CNT, Lula leads a field of potential candidates in simulated second-round runoff votes for 2018, defeating former 2014 presidential candidates Aecio Neves and Marina Silva. In the same poll, Lula would defeat interim President Michel Temer if he ran for re-election by the widest margin, 42.9 percent vs. 19 percent.
In another poll held by Datafolha, if Lula is definitively disqualified by higher courts, 32 percent of Brazilians polled said they wouldn’t vote for anyone in the presidential race. Datafolha director Mauro Paulino said that this type of political disenchantment is unprecedented.
After the money laundering probe known as Lava Jato exposed massive kickback schemes that touched nearly all the large political parties and led to the arrest of more than 150 business tycoons and elected officials, Brazilians’s support for democracy has dropped, more than any other Latin American country. According to a 2017 poll by Latinobarómetro, 13 percent of Brazilians were satisfied with democracy, and 97 percent felt their government catered to small, powerful elite.