Brazilians split on pension reform, but back Bolsonaro: poll

 Brazilians split on pension reform, but back Bolsonaro: poll

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilians are split on a proposed overhaul of the country's pension system, a poll showed on Tuesday, while most said they approve of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro's performance.

In one of the first major surveys since Bolsonaro's Jan. 1 inauguration, 45.6 percent of respondents said they disapprove of the proposed pension reform, while 43.4 percent said they approve. The rest said they did not know or did not respond.

It was the first time a poll, conducted by the MDA institute and commissioned by the CNT transportation lobby, directly asked respondents if they approved of pension reform.

Other polls in the past year have shown large swings in voter opinion on pension reform, from over two-thirds against to figures in line with the MDA survey.

Bolsonaro's proposal to address a widening pension deficit by raising taxes, delaying retirements and creating individual savings accounts is the cornerstone of his economic agenda.

Last week, the president delivered his proposal to Congress, aiming to save over 1 trillion reais ($266 billion) in the next decade. Most economists agree the system must be overhauled to shore up public finances and foster growth.

On Bolsonaro's popularity, 57.5 percent approved of his performance, while 28.2 percent disapproved and 14.3 percent did not offer an opinion.

In the survey, 38.9 percent said Bolsonaro's government was "good" or "excellent," 29 percent said it was "regular" and 19 percent said it was "bad" or "terrible."

MDA surveyed 2,002 Brazilians between Feb. 21 and 23. The poll has a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points.

(Reporting by Eduardo Simões and Brad Brooks; Additional reporting by Gram Slattery in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Steve Orlofsky)

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Updated Date: Feb 27, 2019 02:06:34 IST