Just days after the presidential campaign ahead of October's general election in Brazil formally kicked off, a new poll suggests President Dilma Rousseff could face a tighter race than expected.
According to a Datafolha survey released yesterday, support for the PT candidate is at 36 percent, a figure which has stayed roughly constant since April. The percentage of respondents backing her biggest rival, Aecio Neves of the PSDB, is unchanged compared to the last poll in early July, standing at 20 percent. The PSB’s Eduardo Campos is in a distant third, with 8 percent support.
While these numbers have not moved significantly, Datafolha’s past polling shows that the president’s advantage over Neves in a hypothetical second round matchup has shrunk drastically in recent months. In February she held a 27-point lead among respondents asked about their preferences in a second round vote, 54 to 27 percent. However, the most recent poll shows Dilma only four points ahead, with 44 compared to Neves’ 40 percent. This is within the survey’s margin of error, making the two statistically tied for the first time.
It’s important to note, however, that the Datafolha poll showed that the combined support for Neves, Campos and a half dozen lesser challengers totaled 36 percent, equal to the percentage in favor of Rousseff. For this reason, Folha is careful to point out that it remains unclear whether Rousseff will fail to obtain over 50 percent of votes and avoid a runoff. Still, the president’s falling margin makes a runoff increasingly likely, as Reuters notes.
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