Brazil's Rousseff still seen 1st round victor: poll

SAO PAULO Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:29pm EDT

Brazilian presidential candidate for the ruling Workers Party Dilma Rousseff stands during a television debate in Sao Paulo September 12, 2010. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Brazilian presidential candidate for the ruling Workers Party Dilma Rousseff stands during a television debate in Sao Paulo September 12, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Nacho Doce

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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil's ruling party presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff saw her lead shrink slightly in the latest election poll but she still appears headed for a first round victory.

Rousseff commands 49 percent support among voters against 28 percent for opposition candidate Jose Serra, the Datafolha poll broadcast by TV Globo on Wednesday showed.

If elections, scheduled for October 3, were held today, Rousseff would have more than half of the valid votes, which would give her a first round victory, the poll added.

In a similar poll last week, Rousseff had 51 percent against Serra's 27 percent.

It is the first time that Rousseff's advantage over her main opponent in a poll has shrunk since an ethics scandal involving her party and successor in the chief of staff's office under President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva surfaced last week.

Rousseff has so far benefited from the popularity of the outgoing Lula, one of Brazil's best-liked presidents ever.

Lula's chief of staff, Erenice Guerra, resigned over allegations she was involved in a kickback scheme for public works contracts. Guerra was Rousseff's deputy before Rousseff resigned as Lula's cabinet chief to run for president.

Former Sao Paulo state governor Serra, 68, has also been accusing Rousseff and her party of having illegally accessed the tax records of his daughter and opposition members to gather potentially damaging information against them.

Rousseff has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

(Reporting by Reese Ewing; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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