Home/Noticias/Brazil Mkts Dip, Polls Show Neves Leads Rousseff Only Slightly
Brazil Mkts Dip, Polls Show Neves Leads Rousseff Only Slightly
Brazils markets dipped Friday morning as two polls released Thursday night showed opposition candidate Aecio Neves only slightly ahead of incumbent President Dilma Rousseff. The currency fell 0.6% and the stock market fell 1% in morning trading in Sao Paulo. Datafolha and Ibope both gave Neves a 51 to 49 lead for the October 26 runoff election, within both polls margins of error.
Alessandra Ribeiro, an analyst with the Sao Paulo consultancy Tendencias, said markets had been expecting polls to show Neves with an eight- or 10-point lead, based on an earlier poll from the state of Parana and leaks about the campaigns own tracking polls.
“Markets here did pretty well Thursday, despite poor global markets, because of those expectations, and today were giving some of that up,” Ribeiro told MNI Friday.
Local political scientists cautioned that this election remains too close to call.
“Rousseff is a very strong candidate, because she controls the machinery of government and because she has implemented popular social programs,” Carlos Melo, a political science professor at the Insper business school in Sao Paulo, told MNI Friday.
The polls before the October 5 first round vote underestimated Neves and overestimated Rousseff, but Melo said polls generally fail to catch rapid movements, as was the case when Neves was rising just before the election.
Since this situation is unlikely to repeat, observers probably can trust the polls now, Melo said.
But he did note that abstentions hurt Rousseff in the first round and could hurt her again in the runoff.
Even though voting in Brazil is mandatory, over 19% of voters abstained in the first round, in some cases simply ignoring the law, in other cases citing hardship, such as distance from their assigned polling places.
A disproportionate number of first round abstentions came from the poorer regions when Rousseff has her strongest support, Melo said.
David Fleischer, a political science professor at the University of Brasilia, told MNI the election will be “tight and dirty.”
“Dilma and her campaign are going to try to deconstruct Neves even more violently and aggressively than they did with Marina (Silva),” he said. “But unlike Silva, I expect Neves to fight back.”
And unlike in the campaign for the first round, when free TV time for the candidates is determined by their representation in Congress — which hindered upstart candidate Marina Silve — the two candidates in the runoff will have an equal amount of time
Rousseff is accusing Neves of seeking to dismantle popular social programs. She is also trying to tie him to a corruption scandal in the state where he was governor for eight years and to economic crises that occurred when his party last held the presidency.
Neves is likely to strike back with references to an alleged scheme to funnel kickbacks on overbilled contracts in the petroleum company Petrobras to Rousseffs PT party.
Fleischer said the impact of first debate, probably Tuesday, and the beginning of TV advertisements this past Thursday should only show up in the polls at the end of the next week, when the scenario will become clearer.
Melo said the corruption allegations at Petrobras, if confirmed and if linked to Rousseff, have the potential to hurt her severely.
Although Brazils electorate ignored other corruption scandals in the 2006 and 2010 elections, Melo said this year could be different.
“When the economy is growing and their lives are getting better, voters are willing to overlook ethical lapses. Now, with a bad economy and fear growing about employment, ethical questions could assume some centrality,” he said.