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Ruling party candidate extends lead ahead of presidential run-off

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-10-29

A new poll released Friday shows ruling party candidate Dilma Rousseff (pictured) has extended her lead over opposition challenger Jose Serra to 10 points ahead of an Oct. 31 run-off. Rousseff fell just short of an outright win in the first round.

REUTERS - Ruling party candidate Dilma Rousseff is pulling ahead in Brazil's presidential race, gaining momentum as the focus of the campaign shifts away from social issues and back to the economic gains of recent years.

Rousseff extended her lead over opposition challenger Jose Serra to 10 percentage points in a new opinion poll released on Friday. It was the third poll this week to show her gaining ground after a rough few weeks in which a re-energized Serra narrowed the gap.
 
The survey by polling firm Datafolha showed Rousseff with 50 percent of voter support versus 40 percent for Serra, according to the online edition of Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, which commissioned the poll.
 
Rousseff, the Workers' Party candidate who is backed by the hugely popular President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, had 47 percent in the last Datafolha poll on Oct. 15 versus 41 percent for Serra, a former Sao Paulo state governor from the Brazilian Social Democracy Party.
 
The latest Datafolha poll is likely to be met with unease inside the Serra camp, which sought to discredit two other recent polls showing Rousseff pulling away as politically biased and unreliable.
 
Rousseff, a 62-year-old career civil servant who has never before run for office, fell just short of winning the election outright in the first round on Oct. 3. That was in large part because of an unexpectedly strong showing by Green Party candidate Marina Silva, who took 19 percent of the vote.
 
Rousseff, who served as energy minister and chief of staff in the Lula government, garnered 47 percent of the vote in the first round while Serra came away with 32.6 percent, forcing them into a runoff set for Oct. 31.
 
The Workers' Party emerged deflated from the first round and struggled to shift the focus of the campaign away from a corruption scandal involving a former aide to Rousseff as well as her views on delicate social issues like abortion.
 
Serra, a seasoned politician, seized the momentum and chipped away at Rousseff's lead by portraying her as an untested leader with questionable ethics.
 
The tide seemed to shift back in Rousseff's favor after the Green Party decided not to back a candidate in the runoff, quashing Serra's hopes for an endorsement that would help him pick up swing voters who flocked to Silva in the first round.
 
Rousseff has also made some progress at shifting the campaign back to her central message -- that she is the best candidate to continue Lula's mix of market-friendly policies and social programs. These programs have lifted more than 20 million people out of poverty since 2003 and made Brazil one of the world's fastest-growing emerging economies.
 
The Datafolha poll, which has a margin for error of 2 percentage points either way, surveyed 4,037 people.

 

Date created : 2010-10-22

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