Brazil’s World Cup Set to Affect October Elections

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, of the Workers’ Party (PT), began the World Cup with approval ratings below forty percent. This has fallen continually from sixty percent before last year’s Confederations Cup, which was rocked by protests over corruption and misuse of public money in preparation for the events.

President Dilma Rousseff is looking for the World Cup to boost her support in the upcoming elections, photo by Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil.

A study by Ibope showed that approval ratings for Dilma had fallen to 34 percent. No Brazilian president has ever won an election with less than 35 percent support, and at the very least levels of popularity below forty percent suggest the elections would go to a second round with one of the PT’s main rivals, the Brazilian Social Democratic Party, or PSDB, headed by Aécio Neves, or the Brazilian Socialist known as the PSB Party of Eduardo Campos and Marina Silva.

“In many ways the World Cup is the electoral campaign by proxy… The Rousseff government is being portrayed as lacking leadership and ability to plan efficiently,” explained Carlos Caicedo, Senior Principal Analyst for Latin America at IHS Security Risk to The Rio Times. “The staging of a successful World Cup would be critical to prove critics wrong. A World Cup fiasco is certain to cost votes to Rousseff and the PT.”

During the opening game, played in São Paulo’s Itaquerão stadium last Thursday, the president was met with choruses of vulgar chants. Anger at Rousseff and the PT is widespread, with popular demonstrations taking place simultaneously across the country, with widespread protesting in São Paulo and over a thousand people on the streets of Rio de Janeiro.

Recent surveys show that over sixty percent of Brazilians think the World Cup would be bad for Brazil, a dramatic fall since 2007 when Brazil won the bid, when as much as 79 percent of the population believed it would contribute positively to the country.

Protest art against World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, photo by Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil.

For many Brazilians, nothing short of a victory – Brazil’s sixth in World Cup history – would be enough to convince them that the controversy was worth it. (Read the rest of this article at: