Dilma’s approval rating

Por Vincent Bevins

President Dilma Rousseff’s performance in the polls has been absolutely disastrous recently. At the same time, it is misleading to say, in English, that her “approval rating” is 10%. That is because unlike polls done on American presidents, Brazil’s Datafolha polling system is tripartite.


Respondents are given three options. They can rate the government “good/great,” “regular,” or “bad/terrible.” Well, there are actually four, as you can say you don’t know. But by now (she was elected in 2010), pretty much everyone has an opinion.

Observe that her “good/great” numbers were quite high until 2013 (when protests broke out), and now they are at a pitiful 10%. But the people essentially saying “meh” has not dropped so much. Those two groups add up to 34%, while a whopping 65% actively disapprove of her government.

So her numbers are terrible, just terrible. But it’s not accurate to say that everyone in the country hates her, either.