(Adds approval rating down, context)
By Anthony Boadle
BRASILIA, July 17 Support for Brazilian
President Dilma Rousseff has slipped in the last two weeks and
she is statistically tied with her main challenger in a
second-round runoff, a poll released on Thursday showed.
Rousseff's support dropped to 36 percent among voters from
38 percent at the beginning of July, as Brazil prepares for
elections in October, according to the Datafolha poll.
Support for Aécio Neves, the candidate for the pro-business
PSDB opposition party, remained unchanged at 20 percent, the
poll said, but in a simulation of a likely second-round vote,
the gap between Rousseff and Neves narrowed to four percentage
points, within the poll's margin of error.
Support for Eduardo Campos of the PSB party slipped to 8
percent from 9 percent two weeks ago, the poll said.
Rousseff's popularity has been hurt by high inflation in a
stagnant economy and her support among voters has fallen from 47
percent in November, according to Datafolha polls that point to
the tightest race since her Workers' Party won power in 2002.
The leftist president seeking a second term on Oct. 5 got a
bump up in the previous Datafolha poll done at the start of July
when Brazil was in the midst of the World Cup soccer tournament
and Brazilians where excited by their team's chances.
Brazil suffered a humiliating quarter-final defeat at the
hand of Germany that depressed the mood in the country.
Political analysts, however, say the soccer result will not
affect the outcome of the elections as much as economic factors
and the desire to see a government that will deal with the
deficiencies in Brazil's public services.
Approval of Rousseff's government fell to 32 percent from 35
percent in the previous Datafolha poll on July 2.
Rousseff will campaign on her party's achievements in
reducing poverty and raising millions of Brazilians into the
modern consumer society. Opponent Neves will take her to task
for excessive state intervention that has scared off investors
and slowed a once-booming economy.
The poll broadcast on TV Globo's evening news program has a
margin of error of two percentage points. Datafolha surveyed
5,377 eligible voters on Tuesday and Wednesday.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Ken Wills and Lisa