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IBOPE/CNI | The Numbers Game



I open up my Sunday edition of the Folha de S. Paulo expecting to see the usual: the latest polling numbers and demographic analysis on the cover and Page 4.

Instead, I find myself adrift in an elaborate editorial package on 12 cases of illegal hiring of election workers by the Dilma-PT campaign in 2010, generally in extremely remote areas.

The PT says, buried on an inside page under the rubric The Other Side,  that the electoral court approved its accounts and that is that.

The strong turnaround in pro-government polling data this week is assigned maybe two column inches, without the right to the Folha’s signature infographics.

The latest Ibope — a local business partner of Nielsen  since 2004, and now in a relationship of coopetition, it seems –indicates a first-round victory for the incumbent were the elections held today, with highly positive evaluations of the government at 54%

Brazilian newspapers can often be extremely biased. 

First, Zé Dirceu and then Edu Guimarães narrate the numbers from the week that was.

The IBOPE/Confederação Nacional da Indústria (CNI) survey that shows an increase in the approval rating of the government, published today  -– oddly, with very little space in the media, why do you think that is? — completes the publication yesterday of voter intentions in the 2014 presidential race.

Today’s numbers reflect a sector of society that demands from Dilma, the PT and the government a concentrated effort in three areas: health, education and security.

Although the government and the president improved their standing once more in the IBOPE/CNI poll, the same may be said of evaluations of the economy, with employment, interest rates and inflation evaluated as a weak point the government should address. The highest approval rating is for social programs such as combating hunger and poverty.

These evaluations therefore provide concrete evidence that much needs doing in order to consolidate the vote of the majority. The undeniable fact, confirmed once agains by today’s poll, is that support for the Dilma government is on the rise.

This should serve as a stimulus to focused efforts by the governmental in public policy areas such as health, education, public safety and especially the economy, where the data for August-September better than the two preceeding months, is a good indicator.

After running the numbers, Edu Guimarães has some interesting background on what sort of marketing strategy we will see in the year to come.

During the last four months, Brazil experienced a political roller-coaster ride that presented the first significant development since 2002, when Lula dethroned the political groups that had governed Brazil since time immemorial, including the dictatorship and other periods when democracy was absent.  And what new development was that? The PT government suffered an immense lost of popularity.

But before I proceed, a long but necessary digression.

The major feat of the Lula era — which continues under Dilma — has been to maintain in power a political group with a well-defined political, ideological and administrative project, whose principal aim is to pay back the nearly inconceivable social debt with regard to social inequality.

Obviously, in order to come to power and work its changes, the PT “had to” adhere to traditional political practices.

In 2006, the actor and militant Paulo Betti defined very well the strategy adopted by the party in 2002, when it crushed opponents and came to power under a Lula once considered “fearsome,” a man whom the elite, the capital markets and the media said would transform Brazil into a sort of super-Cuba.

“You can’t practice politics without putting your hands in the shit,” Betti said after a rally of artists in support of Lula at the home of then-Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil.  Criticized to exhaustion by the usual hypocrites, Betti was referring to what the “monthly payola” scandal represented: caixa dois, or roughly,  political slush funds.

The PT never bought a single vote.  Only an intellectual con man could state with a straight face that the party bought off its own congressional deputies, who received the vast majority of the “off the books” funds.

But it did use so-called caixa dois because in Brasil you cannot get elected without it.  Today, after the “payola” scandal, it has become more difficult, but everyone knows that the system is still in use.

Returning now to the central question. Assuming that the ends justiy the means — an argument often criticized but in practice used even by its most  prominent critics, often when the ends served are not so noble as that of repaying the social debt — the PT succeeded in implanting an unprecedented social advance that protected Lula from external crises.

The fall in the popularity of Dilma after the cataclysmic protests of June, however, was encouraging to a social class that is business-friendly, financially sophisticated, ethnic and, above all, media-driven.

In the Congress, the usual rats are preparing to jump ship.  A triumphant media began to encourage protests based on the premise that “now is the time” — that is, that it could undermine the moral integrity of the PT government and pave the way for the PSDB, if possible, but in the worst case scenario for the candidate offering herself as the anti-Lula: Marina Silva.

Among the betrayals that the episodic decline in popularity inspired was that of Pernambuco governor Eduardo Campos, who has shown a willingness to throw a monkey wrench into Dilma’s reelection campaign with an eye to his own political future, given that his election as president in 2014 is a distant dream.

An Ibope survey last released last Thursday, however, shows that the “death of Dilma” has been celebrated too soon. . All her likely opponents — Marina Silva, Aécio Neves and Eduardo Campos — lost market share. Only Dilma advanced.

Which is good.

But the Ibope numbers only confirm what other surveys have shown.  The opposition and the media however, excited by the falling numbers and intentions to vote of Dilma between June and July, continues to deceive itself.  Aécio, Marina, Eduardo Campos and the media are saying the end of the Lulist era is imminent.

I disagree.

I disagree strongly.

The reason is simple: the Brazilian [voter] … is uninterested in moralistic speeches about corruption when he votes. He knows the PT lacks the moral  standing to point the finger at others.  And so the Brazilian votes his wallet. Period.

It is not me saying this, it is marketer Renato Pereira — coordinator of the defeated Venezuelan presidential candidate  Herique Capriles in the recent elections there.  Pereira will coordinate the Toucan candidate for president next year, and in an interview with the Folha de São Paulo late this week guaranteed that the  “payola of the PT” would not help his client.

If political marketing were an Olympic sport, Brazilians would probably dominate it much as the East German women’s swim team dominated in 1976.

What knocked Dilma down in June and July was an expectation, forged by the media and authenticated by street protests, that the country was heading for an economic black hole.. Inflation, employment, salaries and family income had not suffered any major setbacks, but the vision of people in the streets made certain people believe that the ship was sinking.

The114th edition of the CNT/MDA survey, for example, collected data in the field between July 7 and July 10 and found strong contrasts with the results with the 113th edition, collected between June 1 and June 5.  The results were separated by 35 days.  During this time, in the most likely scenario for 2015, Rousseff had lost 19.4 %, Marina Silva had gained 8.2%, Aécio Neves had lost 1.8% and Eduardo Campos had gained 3.7 pontos.

And let us leave it at that. I want my infographic: I am too lazy to type out in words what can be communicated by a simple pie chart or histogram.