Poll shows most Brazilians favor Rousseff's impeachment

By Anthony Boadle BRASILIA (Reuters) - A majority of Brazilians favor impeaching President Dilma Rousseff due to an economic slump and a snowballing corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras, according to a poll released on Monday. The survey by polling firm MDA showed that 59.7 percent of respondents favor Rousseff's impeachment, and 68.9 percent believe she is responsible for the corruption involving a massive kickback scheme at Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the oil giant is formally known. Despite the calls for Rousseff's ouster and recent street demonstrations against her government, opposition leaders have resisted pushing for impeachment and say it is unlikely. Former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, of the biggest opposition party, the PSDB, told Reuters that removing Rousseff so soon after she was re-elected would be destructive to Brazil's 30-year-old democracy, especially since prosecutors have found no evidence she participated in the corruption scheme at Petrobras. Rousseff's popularity has fallen to a new low, with 64.8 percent of respondents rating her government negatively and only 10.8 percent seeing it positively, the poll said. When MDA last surveyed Rousseff's popularity in late September, before her narrow re-election in October, 41 percent of respondents rated her government as "great" or "good" and 23.5 percent as "bad" or "terrible." The new poll also showed that Rousseff's personal approval rating had dropped to 18.9 percent from 55.6 percent in September, while 77.7 percent of respondents said they disapproved of her leadership versus 40.1 percent in the previous survey. If Brazil were to hold presidential elections today, opposition leader Aecio Neves would win. In the poll, 55.7 percent of respondents said they would vote for Neves, of the PSDB party, who lost the October presidential vote in a close runoff. Just 16.6 percent said they would vote for Rousseff. A vast majority of those polled, or 92.8 percent, expressed concern about Brazil's economy, which has slowed to a halt on Rousseff's watch and is expected to fall into recession this year. Pessimism about an economic recovery extends to the prospects for rooting out corruption, with 65.7 percent of respondents saying they do not believe those who were responsible for the graft at Petrobras will be punished. The MDA poll, commissioned by the national transport lobby group CNT, surveyed 2,002 people from March 16 to 19. (Editing by Todd Benson, Peter Galloway and Richard Chang)