BRASILIA: Brazil President Dilma Rousseff and pro-business challenger Aecio Neves are running neck-and-neck ahead of a runoff election on Oct. 26, a poll showed.
The survey by research firm Vox Populi found 45 percent of voters favoring Rousseff and 44 percent for Neves, within the margin of error of 2.2 percentage points. Excluding undecided voters and spoiled or blank survey responses, Rousseff had 51 percent of valid votes against 49 percent for Neves.
Vox Populi is one of Brazil’s smaller pollsters, but its survey backed up the findings of larger polling firms Datafolha and Ibope, which also found the race too close to call in their polls last week.
Neves has gained ground since his surprise performance in the first-round vote on Oct. 5, when he bested environmentalist Marina Silva to place second behind Rousseff.
On Sunday, Neves secured Silva’s endorsement, increasing the odds of winning a crucial majority of her 22 million votes to unseat Rousseff and end 12 years of rule by her Workers’ Party.
Brazilian stocks soared on Monday as investors hoping for more business-friendly policies bet Neves could defeat Rousseff.
The Bovespa stock index posted its strongest one-day jump in more than three years, while Brazil’s currency rose the most against the dollar since mid-June.
Brazil’s financial markets have been volatile throughout the election campaign, rallying when polls showed Rousseff weaker and falling when she gained ground, as many investors look for an end to what they call excessive state intervention in an economy that slipped into recession this year.
Still, local pollsters have faced greater scrutiny after failing to predict the extent of Silva’s decline in popularity and the surge by Neves in the first round of voting.
Vox Populi polled 2,000 voters over the weekend.
The survey was commissioned by TV Record, Brazil’s second-largest television network, and broadcast on its evening news program.