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Brazil Lula's approval, disapproval statistically even, poll shows

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reacts during a meeting with members of the automotive sector in Brasilia

SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Approval of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government has slipped and its disapproval inched up, leaving them statistically even, a poll showed on Thursday.

The leftist president's approval rate fell to 35% from 38% in the previous poll in December, while his disapproval rose to 33% from 30%, according to the survey conducted by Datafolha on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Those readings are within the poll's 2-percentage-point margin of error, meaning the government's approval and disapproval rates are essentially matched.

Another 30% were neutral in the March poll, unchanged from December.

Lula, in the second year of his third non-consecutive term, demanded results from his cabinet ministers on Monday in their first meeting of the year, after other opinion polls showed his government's popularity declining.

Datafolha interviewed 2,002 people in 147 Brazilian cities for the March poll.

About a year ago, approval of Lula's government stood at 38% and disapproval at 29%.

Lula's predecessor Jair Bolsonaro, at this point in his term in office in early 2020, had a 33% approval rate and a 38% disapproval rate.

(Reporting by Andre Romani in Sao Paulo and Maria Carolina Marcello in Brasilia; Editing by William Mallard)