BRASILIA: President Dilma Rousseff has aclear lead over opposition candidate Aecio Neves and would win Sunday’s presidential election runoff by six to eight percentage points, two opinion polls showed on Thursday.
In Brazil’s tightest election in decades, the leftist incumbent’s aggressive campaign against pro-business senator Neves has succeeded in bolstering her support while increasing rejection of her rival, the surveys showed.
Rousseff has gained ground by reminding voters of the rising wages and expanding social programs many have enjoyed over the past 12 years of Workers’ Party rule, benefits she said would be at risk because Neves would govern for the elite.
The new surveys were the first by Brazil’s major polling firms Ibope and Datafolha to show Rousseff with a lead greater than the margin of error, which is plus or minus 2 percentage points for both.
Rousseff has 49 percent of voter support against 41 percent for Neves, according to Ibope, and 48 percent versus 42 percent for Neves, according to Datafolha.
An undaunted Neves dismissed the polls as unreliable, saying they had failed to detect his surge in the Oct. 5 first round vote in which he unexpectedly placed second ahead of popular environmentalist Marina Silva.
The number of Brazilians who say they would never vote for Neves has increased 7 percentage points since last week, to 42 percent, Ibope said.
Rousseff’s rejection rate has remained unchanged, while the approval rating of her government has climbed to 44 percent from 42 percent earlier this week, Datafolha said.