Brazilian Discontent Ahead of World Cup

Pew Research Center

The national mood in Brazil is grim, following a year in which more than a million people have taken to the streets of major cities across the country to protest corruption, rising inflation and a lack of government investment in public services such as education, health care and public transportation, among other things. A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 72% of Brazilians are dissatisfied with the way things are going in their country, up from 55% just weeks before the demonstrations began in June 2013.

Opinions about the national economy have changed even more dramatically over this one-year period. Two-thirds now say Brazil’s once-booming economy is in bad shape, while just 32% say the economy is good. In 2013, the balance of opinion was reversed: a 59%-majority thought the country was in good shape economically, while 41% said the economy was bad. Economic ratings had been consistently positive since 2010, when Pew Research first conducted a nationally-representative survey of Brazil.

Brazilians are also concerned about the impact that hosting the World Cup, which begins June 12, will have on their country. About six-in-ten (61%) think hosting the event is a bad thing for Brazil because it takes money away from schools, health care and other public services — a common theme in the protests that have swept the country since June 2013. Just 34% think the World Cup, which Brazil will host for the first time since 1950 and which could attract more than 3.5 million people to the nation’s twelve host cities, will create more jobs and help the economy.

There is also skepticism about the international benefit of hosting the World Cup. About four-in-ten (39%) say it will hurt Brazil’s image around the world while an almost equal number (35%) say it will help; 23% say it will have no impact.

These are among the major findings from the latest survey of Brazil by the Pew Research Center. The survey is based on face-to-face interviews conducted between April 10 and April 30, 2014 among a representative sample of 1,003 randomly selected adults from across the country.

The survey also finds widespread concern about rising prices: 85% say this is a major problem in the country. And at least two-thirds also say a lack of employment opportunities and the gap between the rich and the poor are very big problems.

In addition to economic concerns, large majorities also describe crime (83%), health care (83%), political corruption (78%) and poor quality schools (64%) as major problems. To be sure, these are not new challenges in Brazil. Pew Research surveys conducted since 2010 have documented similarly widespread concern with a range of social, political and economic issues, including crime, corruption and inflation. But the current level of frustration Brazilians express with their country’s direction, its economy and its leaders is unmatched in recent years.

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