Rousseff takes lead in Brazil election poll

AP News
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Posted: Sep 30, 2014 8:31 PM
Rousseff takes lead in Brazil election poll

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff climbed in two election polls released Tuesday — opening a solid runoff vote lead in one but remaining in a technical tie with her chief rival in another.

A survey carried out by the Datafolha polling group and published on the website of the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper showed Rousseff winning 49 percent support from those polled, while Silva held 41 percent in a possible second-round vote.

A month ago Silva led Rousseff 50-to-40 in a Datafolha poll.

A separate poll conducted by the Ibope Institute and published on the website of the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper indicated a tighter second-round race, with Rousseff taking 42 percent and Silva 38 percent in the second round, putting them in a technical tie taking the margin of error into consideration.

Brazilians will cast their ballots on Sunday. If no single candidate wins an outright majority, a runoff between the top two vote winners will be held on Oct. 26.

"Dilma's negative campaigning has been very effective, it's dehydrated and debilitated Marina," said Carlos Pereira, a political analyst at the Getulio Vargas Foundation think tank. "It was very hard on Marina and has left her vulnerable."

Rousseff has aggressively gone after Silva's record as a senator, questioned her changing political parties three times in the past five years and said she simply doesn't have the mettle needed to lead the world's seventh-biggest economy.

She's also said Silva, a former environmental minister, would slow Brazil's drive to drill for massive offshore oil deposits that could hold upward of 100 billion barrels and railed against Silva's plan to give complete independence to the Central Bank.

Silva sought to dismiss some of Rousseff's "lies" and explain why her economic ideas such as Central Bank independence would jump start an economy that's in recession. But by Brazilian campaign laws a candidate's ad time on television and radio is based upon their coalition's representation in congress, and Rousseff has five times the amount as Silva each day, giving the president the ability to drown out her rival.

That changes in the second round, when the two remaining candidates will have equal air time for the three weeks leading up to a second-round vote.

Rousseff's governing Workers Party is also far bigger and better organized than Silva's Socialist Party — and has held the presidency for nearly 12 years, during which time millions of Brazilians were pulled from poverty into the middle class, solidifying their support base.

In polling on the first-round vote, Rousseff maintained her wide lead over Silva, taking 40 percent versus Silva's 25 percent in the Datafolha poll, and held a nearly identical 39-25 lead in the Ibope poll.

Silva is now in danger of being surpassed by the third-place candidate Aecio Neves, who took 20 percent in the Datafolha poll and 19 percent in Ibope's survey when voters were asked about Sunday's ballot.

The Datafolha survey interviewed 7,520 voters Monday and Tuesday across Brazil. The poll has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

The Ibope poll talked to 3,010 voters Saturday through Monday across Brazil. It also had a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

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