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

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Cancer, Transplant Patients Rail at Drug Shortages in Venezuela

Currency controls, slumping production and smuggling have caused acute shortages of medical supplies in the socialist-led nation
More

Guatemalan Prosecutors Urge President to Resign Amid Scandal

Government comptrollers' office also issued a statement saying Perez Molina should resign 'to avoid greater social unrest that could have unpredictable consequences'
More

Bolt Sprints to Double Gold in Beijing

Jamaican's victories take place on track where in 2008 he first made headlines by winning Olympic gold medals in record fashion at Bird's Nest Stadium
More

Red Cross Makes Plea for Documentation on 'Disappeared'

1980s saw disappearance of thousands of people as consequence of political unrest; disappeared now include people who go missing in natural disasters and wars
More

WFP: Haiti Drought Cuts Harvests, Raises Prices, Food Crisis Looms

Drought has led to acute water shortages, shrivelled harvests and raised food prices, weakening fragile food supply and worsening hunger among poor
More

Colombia Rebel Pleads Guilty in US to Hostage-Taking

Diego Alfonso Navarrete Beltran charged along with 18 other FARC members with crimes relating to 2003 kidnappings of Americans Marc D. Gonsalves, Thomas R. Howes, Keith Stansell
More