Support for Democracy Reaches 75% and Breaks Record Amid Bolsonaro Threats

Datafolha survey shows that most respondents prefer the current regime, while only 10% see dictatorship as acceptable

São Paulo

Brazil's support for democracy grew amid the worsening political crisis of the Jair Bolsonaro government and reached the highest index in the Datafolha historical series.

According to the institute, 75% of respondents consider the democratic regime the most appropriate, while 10% say that the dictatorship is acceptable on some occasions.

Datafolha surveyed 2,016 people on the 23rd and 24th by telephone. The margin of error is two points more or less.

In December, when Datafolha previously asked the same question, 62% supported democracy and 12% the dictatorship--and a number similar to today.

Pro-democracy migration occurred among those for whom the regime does not matter: the contingent fell from 22% to 12%.

During the period, Brazil's democracy crisis surged, with Bolsonaro in direct confrontation with Congress and the Federal Supreme Court.

Dissatisfied with decisions that displeased him, the president supported protests calling for the closure of other government branches and suggested the use of the armed forces in his favor.

Current support for democracy is the greatest since 1989 when Datafolha began to assess the data.

The greatest disregard for the regime occurred in another turbulent year, 1992, seven years after Brazil left the military dictatorship that began in 1964.

The country was in an economic crisis, and President Fernando Collor was facing an impeachment process.

At that time in February, there was the lowest support for democracy in the series, 42%. In September, with Collor out of office, the dictatorship's support was recorded at 23%.

Democratic sentiment grows with the level of education and higher income, from 66%, among those with primary education, to 91%, among those with higher education.

Support is 69% among the impoverished (less than two minimum wages), reaching 87% among those with an income above ten minimum wages.

The democratic regime is a little more fragile among those who consider the Bolsonaro government good or excellent (68%) and among residents of the South (69%).

Supporters of the president also make up a larger group accepting a totalitarian regime: 15%.

Those who reject Bolsonaro tend to support democracy more (85%), as well as inhabitants of the Southeast (80%).

According to Datafolha, the country is divided between those who see the risk of installing a dictatorship (46%) and those who dismiss this (49%).

Despite the worsening political climate, the fear is the same as in December.

They think that there is a higher chance of an authoritarian adventure for young people (55%), those who reject Bolsonaro (56%), and those who find an acceptable dictatorship (58%).

Those who most dismiss the danger are the most educated (58%), Bolsonaro supporters (61%), and wealthy (66%).

Datafolha questioned Brazilians about the state's powers over society's organization; the greater they are, the more totalitarian the government is.

The measured values were mostly democratic.

The closure of Congress is rejected by 78% (59% totally), while 18% accept the idea (11% totally).

The closure of the Supreme Court was rejected by 75% (56% totally) and supported by 20% (14% totally).

As would be predictable, there is greater support for these acts among those who approve Bolsonaro.

They would like to see Congress closed 29% of those who think the government is great or good, and 35% of those who say they trust the president.

And 37% of supporters and 42% of those who trust Bolsonaro think the same about the Supreme Court.

For respondents, the government cannot ban strikes (81% agree with this premise). They also disagree with intervening in unions (64%) or removing political parties (71%).

In the judicial field, respondents are against arresting people without a judge's order (69%) and using torture to extract information from criminals (86%).

Media censorship is rejected by 80% and accepted by 18%.

Rejection drops to 64% among pro-dictatorships, and approval rises to 32% among Bolsonaro's supporters.

On social media, they think that the government should not exercise any kind of control 64%, against 33% who are in agreement.

Currently, a bill is being processed in Congress to combat fake news, but it has been generating reactions from people who point to the risk of censorship.

The South and North / Central-West regions, strongholds of Bolsonarism, have a little more authoritarian bias in supporting items such as banning parties, supporting torture, and closing powers.

For 78%, the 1964 military regime was a dictatorship.

Datafolha asked the 2,016 interviewees on June 23 and 24 about the nature of the military regime established on March 31, 1964.

For 78%, it was a dictatorship, while 13% do not see it this way. 10% say they don't know.

The legacy of the dictatorship is a constant theme in the Jair Bolsonaro government. The president is nostalgic for the regime, which he dismisses as dictatorial, even though he denies having coup intentions.

His supporters tend to agree more with him. For 43% of Bolsonaro's defenders, the dictatorship left more positive than negative things for the country, while that rate drops to 25% in the general population.

For 62% of Brazilians in general, the legacy of 1964 is negative. This rate was 46% in February 2014.

The wealthier also has a more favorable view of the government of generals (36%) than the average. And whoever rejects Bolsonaro, less: 12% see more positive things.
The Brazilian's knowledge about themes of the time grew under Bolsonaro.

The AI-5 (Institutional Act No. 5), 1968, which defined the hardening of the regime, won the news when government members relativized its effects.

"Asking for an AI-5" became an agenda for Bolsonaro protests in the streets. In 2008, only 18% said they knew what the acronym was about, and now it is 50%.

Those with higher education (80%) and those who earn more than ten minimum (90%) are more familiar with the act.

Among other themes of the time raised by Datafolha, the most well-known (62%) is the 1979 amnesty. Least of all, the so-called economic miracle of the early 1970s (30% knowledge).

The PCdoB guerrilla in Araguaia, decimated by the dictatorship, is known by 52%. The death of journalist Vladimir Herzog (1975) by repression, by 41%.

The violent attack by the military against a union rally in Riocentro (1981) is known by 39%.

The research was done by phone to avoid approach

The telephone survey used in this survey represents the total adult population in the country.

The interviews are conducted by professionals trained in telephone surveys and calls made to cell phones used by about 90% of the population. The telephone method requires quick questionnaires, without the use of visual stimuli, such as a card with the names of candidates, for example.

Thus, even with the sample distribution following sex and age quotas within each macro-region, and the subsequent weighting of results according to schooling, the data should be analyzed with some caution as it limits the use of these instruments. In the research, done in this way to avoid personal contact between researchers and respondents, Datafolha adopted the necessary technical recommendations so that the results get as close as possible to the universe it is intended to represent. All Datafolha professionals worked at home, including the interviewers, who applied the questionnaires through a remote telephone exchange. Two thousand sixteen adult Brazilians who have cell phones in all regions and states of the country were interviewed. The margin of error is two percentage points.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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