Politics, World

Brazil poll: Rousseff nearly doubles first-round lead

Incumbent President Dilma Rousseff could now win in the first round of next week's presidential elections, experts suggest

Brazil poll: Rousseff nearly doubles first-round lead

By Ben Tavener


 President Dilma Rousseff has virtually doubled her first-round lead to 13 points and pulled ahead of her main rival in a runoff scenario, the latest major poll showed Friday.

The Datafolha poll showed 40 percent would vote for Rousseff, presidential candidate for the Workers' Party, whereas support for Brazilian Socialist Party candidate Marina Silva had dropped to 27 percent.

Aécio Neves, the center-of-right Social Democracy Party candidate, was third with 18 percent of voter support.

A simulated second-round gave Rousseff 47 percent to Silva’s 43 percent -- on the limits of a technical tie given the poll's margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

Experts said the poll suggested the likelihood of an outright win in the first round on Oct. 5 had now increased.

"This poll is important in that it showed the chance of a second turn has reduced," Datafolha Director-General Mauro Paulino said, commenting the results on TV Folha. 

This view is shared by political scientist Maria do Socorro Sousa Braga, professor at the Federal University of São Carlos, who told The Anadolu Agency a first-round win had now become a possibility.

"If you take the 'valid' votes in the first round, Rousseff reaches 45 percent and we inch closer to a win for her on Oct. 5, as the remaining undecided voters by this stage will likely side with the winning candidate or not vote at all," Braga said.

"Although Dilma Rousseff has increased her attacks in recent weeks, the Marina Silva campaign is now likely to be in crisis at these results, and will up their (sic) offensive desperate to score points back from Rousseff, which is unattractive to voters," Braga said.

The last Datafolha poll ahead of next week's vote, commissioned jointly between the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper and TV Globo, was conducted Sept. 25-26 and surveyed 11,474 people in 402 municipalities across the country.

The previous poll in the Datafolha series on Sept. 19 also showed Silva's momentum had waned. That poll put Rousseff on 37 percent, Silva on 30 percent, and Neves on a 17 percent.

Neves had been comfortably in second place until Marina Silva's dramatic entry into the presidential race after the death of the Socialist Party's original candidate, Eduardo Campos, in a plane crash. By the end of August, Silva had skyrocketed in the polls, pulling 10 points ahead of Rousseff.

However, Rousseff has since seen her first-round fortunes improve considerably, clawing back second-round votes to force the contest back to a tie -- and one she now looks set to win.

Conversely, Silva has since dropped back, suffering from a combination of a lack of free television and radio political advertising time, which is allocated according to congressional representation, as well as relentless attacks from the Rousseff campaign, which has tried to portray the environmentalist as in league with the banks.

Commentators note that, if the vote does go to a runoff on Oct. 26, the two remaining candidates would have equal access to the free national political broadcasts.

Friday's poll also showed that the rejection rate for Rousseff's candidacy had continued to shrink, down from 35 percent at the end of August, to 31 percent. Silva's rejection rate, however, has climbed steadily, from 11 percent in mid-August to 23 percent now, surpassing Neves' rejection rate for the first time.


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