Poll shows Brazilians are souring on hosting World Cup

Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:29am EST
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By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The number of Brazilians who favor hosting the World Cup has fallen to an all-time low just four months before kick-off, with many criticizing the soccer tournament as a waste of money that would be better spent elsewhere, a poll showed on Monday.

The survey by local pollster Datafolha showed that only 52 percent of Brazilians favored hosting the World Cup, down from a high of 79 percent in November 2008, a year after Brazil was chosen as the venue for the 32-nation event.

Support for the event has waned since massive protests broke out in June against poor public services and the high cost of building stadiums for the World Cup.

But the Datafolha poll also showed the demonstrations, which have become smaller and more violent as masked anarchist groups clash with police, were losing popular support.

The survey showed that 38 percent of Brazilians were against hosting the Cup, up from 10 percent in 2008. The result was surprising for a nation that is passionate about the game and has won five World Cup titles, more than any other country.

The survey corroborated the findings of another poll last week that showed most Brazilians would not want the World Cup to be held in their country if the decision was made today.

That poll, conducted by Brazil's MDA, found that 80.2 percent of Brazilians thought the billions of dollars spent to host the World Cup should have been directed elsewhere, such as for healthcare and education.

The Datafolha poll showed backing for the protests had dropped to 52 percent from a peak of 81 percent last June, when more than 1 million people took to the streets to vent their anger over deficient public transport, education and health services.   Continued...

An aerial view shows the Farroupilh park in Porto Alegre January 30, 2014. REUTERS/Edison Vara