(File image) Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

Sao Paulo - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's administration reached a record-high approval rating in April but voters still long for the return of predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

Sixty-four percent of Brazilians believe Rousseff's administration is doing a good or excellent job, up from 59 percent in January, the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper said, citing a poll by its Datafolha research division.

It is the highest approval rating for Rousseff's administration since she took office in January 2011, the newspaper said.

Rousseff's personal approval rating was even higher, at 68 percent, with her handling of Brazil's economic slowdown and a tough stance against corruption making her among the most popular democratically elected leaders in the world.

Latin America's largest economy has cooled under Rousseff, expanding at a disappointing 2.7 percent after having been hit by fallout from the European debt crisis and slowing growth in China. But Rousseff has remained popular throughout thanks to strong credit growth, low unemployment and rising wages, which have helped cushion the impact of the economic chill.

Still, when asked who they would prefer as the ruling Workers' Party candidate in the next presidential election, 57 percent of those polled chose Lula while 32 percent preferred Rousseff, Folha said.

Lula, a folksy former union leader, presided over an economic boom that lifted more than 20-million Brazilians out of poverty, with the economy expanding at 7.5 percent in his last year in office. - Reuters