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Brazil President Rousseff Leads in Latest Poll
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseffs chances of re-election strengthened in one poll Monday that showed the incumbent opening up a nine-point lead over her main rival in a likely second-round runoff. Ms. Rousseff would garner 47.7% of the votes in a two-way runoff against challenger Marina Silva, according to the poll commissioned by the MDA polling company for Brazils National Confederation of Transport. Ms. Silva would receive 38.7% of votes if the runoff, scheduled for Oct. 26, were held today.
Brazils benchmark Ibovespa stocks index plunged 4.5% on Monday, with shares of the companys flagship oil company, Petrobras, down 11%. The Brazilian real has weakened to around 2.45 per dollar from 2.24 in early September, when Ms. Silva was leading in the polls.
Brazils economy slowed dramatically on Ms. Rousseffs watch and critics say government meddling in state-owned firms has hurt the nations competitiveness. “I believe if Dilma wins Brazil will lose its investment grade next year,” said Frederico Mesnik, money manager and founder at São Paulo-based investment firm Humaitá Investimentos.
Mondays survey isnt as widely watched as those of Brazils most prominent pollsters, IBOPE and Datafolha. Still, the poll, carried out Sept. 27-28, is consistent with other recent surveys showing Ms. Rousseff gaining momentum against Ms. Silva, the Socialist Party candidate. Some surveys this month showed Ms. Silva beating or tying Ms. Rousseff.
Ms. Rousseff has battered her rival with a barrage of negative television ads that Ms. Silva has been unable to match. Under Brazils unique election rules, Ms. Rousseff of the Workers Party has the right to roughly 11 minutes of prime-time television advertising, versus just two for Ms. Silva, heading into the first round of voting on Oct. 5.
“Dilma has been able to take votes away from Marina, not only because of the negative campaign but because Dilma had much more time on TV,” said Carlos Melo, a political scientist and professor at Insper in São Paulo. “The inequality of conditions has been brutal in this election.”
Ms. Silva surged in the election race in late August after announcing that she would run for president in the place of running mate Eduardo Campos, who died in a plane crash Aug. 13. She quickly became the darling of investors and businessmen, proposing market-friendly reforms such as creating an independent central bank and reducing state interference in the economy.
But Ms. Rousseff and other candidates quickly went on the attack with television ads.
Ms. Silva, an evangelical Christian, has also appeared to flip flop under pressure on some issues. On gay rights, for instance, she removed same-sex marriage from her campaign platform, a move that experts say repelled young voters in big cities who were initially attracted to her socially progressive, pro-environment background.
The last CNT/MDA poll, carried out a week earlier, showed Ms. Rousseff and Ms. Silva in a statistical tie, with the president holding a 42% to 41% lead. Both polls were based on interviews of 2,002 respondents, with a 2.2% margin of error.
Ibope and Datafolha are both set to release fresh polls on Tuesday after markets close. Datafolhas most recent survey, published Friday, showed Ms. Rousseff holding a 47% to 43% lead over Ms. Silva, a statistical tie since the gap fell within the margin of error.
But Leonardo Avritzer, president of the Brazilian Association of Political Scientists, said the results are starting to show “convergence.”
“At this point Marina is entering the second round weaker than most people had supposed,” he said.