Rousseff’s lead shrinks ahead of Brazil presidential polls

Incumbent sees her lead in opinion polls slide ahead of an October presidential vote as Brazilians vent anger over social inequality and the cost of hosting the World Cup

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 August, 2014, 11:48am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 August, 2014, 11:48am

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff would probably win reelection in a second-round run-off in October, but main challenger Aecio Neves has narrowed her lead, a new opinion poll showed on Thursday.

Voter support for leftist Rousseff ahead of the October 5 election was unchanged at 38 per cent, the IBOPE polling institute said, while centre-right Neves gained one percentage point to 23 per cent since the previous poll in July.

Third-placed candidate Eduardo Campos also advanced one point to 9 per cent.

The poll showed that Rousseff does not have enough votes to win the election outright if it were held today and would have to face a run-off three weeks later against Neves.

In a second-round run-off vote, Rousseff would probably defeat Neves with 42 per cent of the vote compared with his 36 per cent, the survey found. Neves has reduced that gap to 6 points from 8 in July.

A flagging economy and the high cost of living have hurt Rousseff’s popularity and fuelled a widespread desire for change among Brazilians, making this the toughest election for the ruling Workers’ Party since it won office in 2002.

More than one third of Brazilian voters (36 per cent) say they will never vote for Rousseff, a rejection figure that is more than double that for Neves (15 per cent), according to IBOPE.

Still, the poll found that 55 per cent of those surveyed believe that Rousseff will prevail and win a second-term.

Rousseff is campaigning on the social improvement initiatives delivered by her party that have reduced poverty and lifted millions of Brazilians into a modern consumer society over the last decade.

Neves is running on a more business-friendly platform, vowing to restore investor confidence and solid growth to Latin America’s largest economy.

The IBOPE poll, broadcast on TV Globo, surveyed 2,506 people from August 3-6 and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.