The Brazilian electorate is unenthusiastic about the political involvement of the armed forces and the easing of gun control, two central points of President Jair Bolsonaro’s political agenda.
A PoderData survey published on Monday shows that 44% of the population consider the presence of military officers in important government posts – a feature of the Bolsonaro administration – to be bad. This represents an increase of 9 points since December.
Meanwhile, the military has become embroiled in controversies, such as using public money to buy Viagra pills and drugs to combat baldness. President Bolsonaro continues to involve the armed forces in his coup speech – last week he said the military would conduct a parallel vote count in this year’s election.
Although 43% of respondents have a favorable opinion of the military in government, the rate of rejection of the armed forces was only higher in August 2021, when government disapproval rates also soared.
The armed forces’ image crisis has already had an impact on society’s view of the institution. Historically, it is considered the most trusted institution in Brazil. But last year, the rate of mistrust was the highest in the historical series measured by another pollster, Datafolha.
PoderData also showed that 62% are against the government encouraging the purchase of firearms. Since 2019, the government has issued more than 30 decrees that relax gun control; the number of weapons in the hands of the general population now exceeds that of the military police.
Men make up the majority of supporters of guns and the armed forces, especially older men and those with higher monthly incomes. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of those in favor of less gun and military control are Bolsonaro voters.