As World Cup Approaches, Brazilians Aren't Exactly Thrilled

New poll numbers from the Pew Research Center show widespread dissatisfaction in Brazil as the country prepares for the World Cup.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Just nine days to go before the World Cup soccer tournament begins in Brazil. And a poll released today by the Pew Research Center shows that the mood among Brazilians is grim. NPR's Lordes Garcia-Navarro reports a country that seemed to be taking off just a few years ago feels like it's crashing, instead.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken).

LORDES GRACIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: It was 2007, President Inacio Lula da Silva was on-stage, being handed the World Cup trophy, after Brazil was officially selected to host soccer's biggest tournament, to cheers. President Lula was riding high on a wave of optimism and popularity. And in his address that day, he said the decision to give Brazil the World Cup had prompted much joy and partying in Brazil. Well, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center, the party is now over.

JULIANA HOROWITZ: The mood in Brazil is incredibly negative right now and considerably more negative than it was a year ago.

GRACIA-NAVARRO: That's Juliana Horowitz, the author of the new poll on attitudes in Brazil. Seventy-two percent of people who were asked are dissatisfied by the way things are going in their country. That's up almost 20 percent from only a year ago. It has been a rough year for Brazil. Protests and strikes have wracked the country. The run-up to the World Cup has been marked by delays and cost over-runs. But one of the big things that has really changed is the economy. At best, Brazil is projected to grow only two percent this year. Inflation is running it over six percent.

HOROWITZ: Year ago, 59 percent of Brazilian said the economy was doing well. And now, 67 percent say the economy is in bad shape. Inflation is up, and we see that in the list of concerns that people have.

GRACIA-NAVARRO: I'm at a small local supermarket. And I'm going to take a look around at some of the prices here. A jar of anchovies - it's a pretty big jar, but still is around $45. Prices in Brazil are really high, and they're rising. And people are, in fact - as the poll shows - very unhappy about it.

MOISES GOMES: (Foreign language spoken).

REPORTER: Moises Gomes is 79 years old, and he's shopping for tomatoes with his wife, Sirsa. They both bemoan the cost of living in Brazil these days, saying they don't understand why, in a country that produces so much, everything is so expensive. And without prompting, they both denounce the World Cup. The Pew poll shows that six in 10 people believe hosting the tournament will be bad for the country, because the money could have been better spent on health and education. Sirsa and Moises concur. The cost of the stadiums is absurd, Moises says. Then he adds, in English, that he feels, for the first time...

GOMES: Unfortunately, I'm Brazilian.

GRACIA-NAVARRO: Lordes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News, Sao Paulo.

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