RIO DE JANEIRO: Leftist incumbent Dilma Rousseff maintains a lead ahead of Brazil’s October presidential elections but could face a second round dead heat against her main rival, said a poll out yesterday.
Rousseff, who succeeded Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva four years ago to keep the Workers Party (PT) in office, would currently receive 32.2 percent of the vote, down from 31.6 in June, a Sensus Institute survey for news digest Istoe showed.
Main rival Aecio Neves of the Social Democratic Party (PSDB) is currently forecast to obtain 21.5 percent, down from 21.1 in June.
But were the October 5 contest to go to a second round, as those figures suggest, the outcome would be too close to call for Rousseff, according to the poll.
Despite Rousseff consistently holding a strong lead in first round voting, the Sensus findings show that, in the run-off, she would garner 36.3 percent against 36.2 for Neves, an economist.
June polls had predicted a second-round outcome between the two as a 37.8 to 32.7 percent win for Rousseff.
Meanwhile, a Datafolha survey earlier this month showed Rousseff, the 66-year-old daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant lawyer, as gaining four points on the back of Brazil’s staging of a largely successful World Cup.
The former urban guerrilla tortured under the 1964-85 military dictatorship had lost ground in the run-up to the tournament amid tension stemming from opposition to the cost of the event and late-running preparations.
With the World Cup over, the economy is the key battleground issue as Brazil fights rising inflation and sluggish growth forecast to rise just 1.0 percent this year in the world’s seventh-largest economy.
Rousseff’s popularity has been hurt by high inflation in a stagnant economy and her support among voters has fallen from 47 percent in November, according to Datafolha polls that point to the tightest race since her Workers’ Party won power in 2002.
Brazil suffered a humiliating quarter-final defeat at the hand of Germany that depressed the mood in the country. Political analysts, however, say the soccer result will not affect the outcome of the elections as much as economic factors. Reuters