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

Taiwan President Sounds Warning on Future of China Ties

Current Taiwan government has eased once dangerously tough relations with Beijing since 2008, but next year’s presidential election could change that course More

US Presidential Candidates Woo Hispanic Voters

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton reached out to Hispanic voters this past week in a bid to boost their voter support More

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Documentary is a close-up and personal view of young woman who has become of global symbol of courage and inspiration More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Rescued Chilean Miners Were 'Battle-Scarred,' Author Says

Despite becoming celebrities after their improbable rescue in 2010, the men were deeply wounded, said writer Hector Tobar

Celebration of Peru's Economic Boom Comes Late

World Bank, IMF policymakers this week call country a prize pupil of financial stability, however, plunging prices for minerals have cut annual growth dramatically

Guatemala Landslide Death Toll Tops 220; Another 350 Missing

Loosened by heavy rains, hillside collapsed onto Santa Catarina Pinula on southeastern flank of Guatemala City October 1, burying scores of homes

Report: More Than 58,000 Violent Deaths Last Year in Brazil

Annual report on public security says number of violent deaths up nearly 5 percent last year from 2013, when country suffered a then high of 55,000 such deaths

UN Launches Review of Possible Corruption

Audit will look at interaction between world body and two organizations that US prosecutors have accused of bribing a former top UN official

US to Publish Records on Chile 1976 Assassination

Orlando Letelier was killed, along with his American co-worker Ronni Moffitt, by a car bomb in the center of Washington