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.
Reuters

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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

More Americas News

US State Dept Official: Cuba Aims to Ramp Up Internet Access

Cuba, a few decades late to the Internet era, is committed to getting the web into 50 percent of its households by 2020, a senior official said on Monday
More

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

World's largest gamma ray observatory will be situated high in Sierra Negra Mountain to discover secrets about black holes and supernovas
More

Drownings of Migrants Along Rio Grande Increase

Increased patrols are pushing immigrants, desperate to avoid detection, to choose more dangerous and remote crossings into South Texas, leading to surge in drownings
More

US, Cuba Teams Discuss Telecommunications Issues

US delegation visited Cuba this week as the two nations continued efforts to restore diplomatic relations broken over 50 years ago
More

Egyptian Court Adjourns Trial of Al Jazeera Journalists to April 22

Two journalists are charged with aiding a terrorist organization, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt banned following 2013 army takeover
More

Rio Exhibition Dramatizes Olympian Bay Cleanup Task

Display highlights problem of trash in Guanabara Bay, where sailing, windsurfing events are to take place in next Summer Games
More