Brazil polls show Silva surge halted ahead of October election

BRASILIA Wed Sep 3, 2014 8:03pm EDT

Presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff of Workers Party (PT) waves to the crowd before she takes part in a TV debate in Sao Paulo September 1, 2014. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

Presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff of Workers Party (PT) waves to the crowd before she takes part in a TV debate in Sao Paulo September 1, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Paulo Whitaker

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BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has gained some ground against opposition candidate Marina Silva whose surge in voter support for the October elections has ended, two new polls showed on Wednesday.

Both polls still project the popular environmentalist as the favorite to beat Rousseff in a second-round runoff, though by a narrower margin than surveys done last week.

The numbers appear to show Rousseff's attacks on Silva, launched in a presidential debate on Monday, are beginning to pay off, while campaign mistakes by Silva could have halted her meteoric rise since entering the race just two weeks ago.

According to the survey by polling institute Ibope, Rousseff picked up three percentage points in voter support for the Oct. 5 election, and her government's approval rating rose two percentage points to 36 percent, welcome news for a president who appeared to be against the ropes.

Polling firm Datafolha confirmed that Rousseff's bleeding has stopped, with her support rising one percentage point to 35 percent since last week, while Silva remained at 34 percent.

Silva is still projected to win the expected Oct. 26 runoff by 48 percent against 41 percent for Rousseff, a margin that has narrowed from 10 points last week, Datafolha said.

Silva was thrust into the election race when her party's candidate Eduardo Campos was killed in a plane crash.

A popular anti-establishment figure, she is threatening to end the 12-year rule of the Workers' Party in the election, which is being watched closely by investors hoping that a change of government will bring more market-friendly policies that can stir an economy that slipped into recession this year.

In a first-round vote, support for Rousseff rose to 37 percent from 34 percent in the previous poll, while Silva's support rose to 33 percent from 29 percent, Ibope said. Support for market favorite Aecio Neves, who was pushed into third place by Silva, has fallen to 15 percent from 19 percent.

In other good news for Rousseff, the president's rejection rate, or the percentage of voters who say they would never vote for her, fell to 31 percent from 36 percent last week.

Silva's rejection rate is much lower, but rose slightly to 12 percent from 10 percent in the previous poll, Ibope said.

That would indicate that Silva has not suffered significant damage from two embarrassing revisions to her party platform that withdrew support for nuclear energy and same-sex marriage.

The commitment to back legislation for gay marriage was dropped after an uproar by evangelical pastors that threatened to undermine support for Silva, a fervent Pentecostal Christian, among a growing religious constituency.

Silva, who vows to clean up Brazil's discredited political establishment, has also been dogged by media reports that allege the plane that crashed with Campos on board was acquired in a shady campaign donation of the kind that she has denounced.

Both polls were carried out Sunday through Tuesday. Ibope surveyed 2,506 voters and Datafolha polled 10,054. The polls have a margin of error of two percentage points. The results were posted on the websites of the O Estado de S. Paulo and Folha de S.Paulo newspapers.

(Additional reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by G Crosse, Dan Grebler and Lisa Shumaker)

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Comments (3)
VinoYcafe wrote:
The sad thing is….This country’s socialist attitude will never allow Brazil to achieve a Tier-1 country status (economically or otherwise). Who wants to invest, work hard, and then have a corrupt government steal everything in the name of social equality?
Just look what the government has done to Petrobras

Sep 03, 2014 8:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
KleberVerraes wrote:
In order to understand what is happening in Brazil, one cannot ignore six important facts:

(i) Dilma Rousseff is Lula’s creature (as much as Dmitry Medvedev was Vladimir Putin’s creature). This is the cold reality about Brazil: Lula is the de facto President and is playing exactly the same game;

(ii) Marina Silva is an exotic left-wing radical (with evangelical overtones). She is a former (influential) member of Lula’s Workers’ Party and a minister during Lula’s first term. Marina Silva left Lula’s party in 2009, because she believed that the party was distancing itself from its left-wing roots;

(iii) Brazil’s wounds are all self-inflicted: Eike Batista’s and Petrobras’ debacles are simply the most visible consequences of a rotten and corrupt regime gone totally out of control. Indeed, whenever one sees an oligarch, like Eike Batista, joining forces with an ultra-corrupt politician, like Lula, one is certainly in crony capitalism territory;

(iv) Lula’s symbiotic alliances with corrupt trade union leaders, powerful oligarchs, Governor Sérgio Cabral, Congressman Paulo Maluf, Senator José Sarney and other unscrupulous opportunists have consolidated a monopolistic power structure of a voracious kleptocratic regime, whereas siphoning taxpayers’ money is the only aim of the game;

(v) Today, in Latin America, what we see is the tragic result of a poisonous mixture, blending “traditional European socialism” with the worst type of old-style Latin American populism. Thus, such mixture has created “Kleptocratic Bolivarianism”; which is a philosophy of tyranny, corruption, profound ignorance, misery and economic disaster; and

(vi) Unquestionably, in case Marina Silva is elected president, Brazil will continue to navigate towards the “Bolivarianism cliff”.

Therefore, Brazil desperately needs a president like Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher. Actually, Latin America’s largest country needs a president capable of disarming the “Venezuelization time bomb”; which has already been set by Lula and his Workers’ Party.

As a matter of fact, government becomes a problem when it goes beyond its constitutionally limited role. The role of any government is to ensure law and order, protect national security, implement foreign policy and maintain a stable economy through proper economic policy.

The role of government is NOT to own oil companies or run a bloated bureaucracy with taxpayers’ money. The role of government is NOT to protect an oligarchy disguised as private sector. That is exactly what Brazil and Argentina have been doing for almost a century and this is a recipe for crony capitalism and disaster.

As long as the Brazilian people continue to rely on the government as the engine of the nation’s progress, there will never be real progress. Undoubtedly, a bunch of incompetent, corrupt and obstructive politicians will never be capable to pull Brazil out of the Third World swamp.

Unfortunately, constitutionally limited government and free markets are not even discussed during the debates between presidential candidates in Brazil. However, in order to escape from the Third World swamp, Brazil must urgently adopt four basic principles and policies:

(i) constitutionally limited government;

(ii) free markets and individual freedom;

(iii) “zero-tolerance” crime policy; and

(iv) comprehensive tax reform, including the adoption of the Value Added Tax (VAT), to replace all existing indirect taxes on goods and services.

Aécio Neves is certainly not a limited government advocate. Evidently, Aécio Neves’ party (PSDB) is trying to be a “light version” of Lula’s Workers’ Party; and such strategy will inevitably bring defeat to Aécio Neves. Thus, he may soon regret that he didn’t focus his efforts on promoting (and explaining) these four basic principles and policies to his potential voters.

Evidently, it is impossible to save Brazil from the Brazilians.

Sep 04, 2014 7:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MonitorLizard wrote:
Please, vote for Silva and put Dilma out of her misery. Then she can spend lots of time cooking pasta.

Sep 04, 2014 8:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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