BRASILIA Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has narrowed opposition candidate Marina Silva's lead in a likely runoff in October's election to seven percentage points from nine last week, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday.
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 the president after polls last week showed Silva surging to become the favorite.
Silva, a renowned environmentalist who upended the presidential race after her late entry two weeks ago, is still projected to win an expected second-round runoff against Rousseff on Oct. 26 by 46 percent of the votes versus 39 percent, according to the survey by polling institute Ibope.
A popular anti-establishment figure, Silva 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 and centrist Aecio Neves' support fell to 15 percent from 19 percent, Ibope said.
In another good sign for Rousseff, her 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 to 12 percent from 10 percent in the previous poll, Ibope said.
Ibope surveyed 2,506 people nationwide between Sunday and Tuesday. The poll, published on the website of the O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper, has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle, editing by G Crosse and Dan Grebler)