News / Americas

New Brazil Poll Shows Silva Beating Rousseff in Runoff

Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) presidential candidate Marina Silva attends a Mass for late presidential candidate Eduardo Campos at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.
Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) presidential candidate Marina Silva attends a Mass for late presidential candidate Eduardo Campos at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.

Environmentalist Marina Silva would handily beat President Dilma Rousseff if Brazil's October election goes to a runoff, a poll showed on Wednesday, an outcome that seemed unimaginable just a few weeks ago and one
that would put an end to 12 years of Workers' Party rule.

Silva would win 43.7 percent of the votes to 37.8 percent for Rousseff in a likely second round of voting, said the survey by polling firm MDA. It was the second poll in less than 24 hours to show Silva ahead in such a scenario.

Both polls point to a probable runoff because Rousseff looks unlikely to win more than 50 percent of votes in the Oct. 5 election. The two top vote-getters would face off three weeks later.

Silva has clearly pushed the other main opposition candidate and market favorite, centrist Aecio Neves, into third place and is luring away some of his supporters, the polls showed.

After four years of sluggish economic growth under Rousseff, many investors are hoping the election will bring in a new president who will put Brazil on a more market-friendly track, helping to lure investments needed to revive the world's seventh-largest economy.

A lifelong defender of the Amazon rainforest and a popular figure among young voters, Silva has upended the race since becoming a candidate last week. Silva had been the running mate of the Brazilian Socialist Party's previous contender, Eduardo Campos, who was killed in a plane crash on Aug. 13.

Yet many political analysts say Silva has benefited from public sympathy over Campos' death, so her support could wane in coming weeks as emotions fade and her major policy positions  become better known.

Both Rousseff and Neves have more allotted campaign time on television and better-funded parties behind them to counter Silva's rise.

The MDA poll showed Rousseff would garner 34.2 percent of votes in the Oct. 5 election, down from 36.2 percent in the previous MDA survey in early August. Silva had 28.2 percent, and Neves 16 percent, down from 22.1 percent in the last MDA poll.

An Ibope poll published on Tuesday showed Silva defeating Rousseff by a nine-point margin in a runoff.

Silva appeals to voters who are disenchanted with Brazil's political establishment and see her as a principled outsider who can bring ethics to government. Both polls showed her attracting disenfranchised and uncommitted voters.

An evangelical Christian, Silva can also tap the votes of this growing religious constituency. The MDA poll showed support for another evangelical candidate, Pastor Everaldo, slumped to 1 percent from 3 percent.

Stocks up

The prospect of a Silva victory has rallied Brazil's stock market for two weeks, exciting investors who are frustrated with what they see as Rousseff's interventionist economic policies.
Sao Paulo's main stock index rose 2 percent by midafternoon, with scandal-hit state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA up by more than 4 percent.

"Investors are expecting changes in the running of the company if a new government takes office," HSBC analyst said in a note to clients.

Yet Silva's intransigent style of politics may make it difficult for her to build the sometimes murky coalitions that presidents need to govern Latin America's largest nation.

"Marina has a lot of challenges ahead. Her party is divided and she has conflicts with political alliances in big electoral districts such as Sao Paulo," said Andre Cesar, a Brasilia-based political consultant.

Cesar said that if Silva were elected, she would have to cozy up to Brazil's largest party, the PMDB, which controls both chambers of Congress. "Who will she govern with? She will have to sit down with these guys and negotiate. Will she be able to stomach that?"

In the first presidential debate of the campaign on Tuesday night, rival candidates sought to highlight Silva's lack of executive experience and past run-ins with Brazil's powerful agribusiness sector, which accounts for almost one quarter of the country's economic output.

A confident Silva brushed off the criticism and said economic growth and conservation are not incompatible.

While Silva's economic policies remain unclear, her adviser, Eduardo Giannetti, has said they will be as orthodox and market-friendly as those of Neves, the candidate for the Brazilian Social Democracy Party.

The MDA poll, commissioned by the transport industry lobby group CNT, surveyed 2,002 people between Aug. 21 and Aug. 24. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Canada Extends Deadline to Bring in 25,000 Syrian Refugees

Humanitarian workers across Middle East have been gearing up for massive airlift of Syrian refugees to Canada

Canada Refugee Plan Revives Concerns Over Porous US Border

Border agents, some residents say they are concerned about Ottawa's plan to bring in 25,000 Syrians by year-end, even though the government there insists its screening will be thorough

Quake in Mexico Shakes Capital, No Reported Damage or Injuries

USGS says 5.5. magnitude quake had its epicenter 257 km (160 miles) south of Mexico City in the southwestern state of Guerrero

Venezuela Opposition Delighted at Macri's Argentina Presidential Win

Activists see election result in Argentina as blow for leftists in Latin America, good omen for their parliamentary vote next month

Climate Change Sends Chile's Wine Industry Southward

Vintners in the world's fourth largest wine exporter are watching some of their promising vines wither with climate change

President-elect Promises to Reboot Argentine Economy

Mauricio Macri also calls on Central Bank's top tier to step aside and says he wants Venezuela suspended from Mercosur trading bloc for human rights abuses