BRASILIA, April 16 Despite a mushrooming scandal
at state-run oil company Petrobras and bad news on the economic
front, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff is still the hands-down
favorite to win the elections in October, according to a new
poll on Wednesday.
If the vote were held today, Rousseff would win 40 percent
of the ballots, while her two main rivals put together would get
only 24 percent, not enough to force a run-off, the poll showed.
The survey last week by local polling firm Vox Populi
indicated that rising inflation in a stagnant economy, coupled
with bribery, money laundering and overpricing investigations at
Petrobras have not undermined Rousseff's popularity as yet.
The number of voters intending to back the left-leaning
president for a second four-year term has fallen off just one
percentage point since the previous Vox Populi poll in February.
But the expected candidate of the main opposition party,
centrist Senator Aécio Neves also slipped one percentage point
to 16 percent, according to the poll published on the website of
the news magazine Carta Capital.
Eduardo Campos, a business-friendly socialist from Brazil's
poor northeastern region who announced on Monday he will run
with popular environmentalist Marina Silva on his ticket,
advanced two percentage points to 8 percent, the poll said.
Allegations of corruption and mismanagement at Petroleo
Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, have damaged Rousseff's
image as a competent manager and may lead to a congressional
probe sought by her opponents.
But her rivals have so far failed to capitalize on the
Petrobras scandal or a widespread desire for change among
Brazil's economic activity slowed sharply in February from
January, central bank data showed on Wednesday, suggesting a
weak start to the year, the fourth of slow growth in the
once-booming South American nation.
Rousseff survived massive protests last year over the lack
of adequate public services, the high cost of living and the
expense of building stadiums for the soccer World Cup Brazil
will host in June, when more demonstrations are expected.
The poll of 2,200 voters was conducted April 6-8 and has a
margin of error of 2.1 percentage points.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Bernard Orr)