Rousseff pulls ahead of rival before election

Oct 22, 2014, 3:44 AM EDT
Supporters of Dilma Rousseff, current Brazilian president and candidate to the reelection by the Workers Party demonstrate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on October 21, 2014.
AFP/Getty Images

Incumbent President Dilma Rousseff pulled ahead again in a new poll ahead of Brazil's presidential election and she appears to be the favorite to win Sunday's runoff although the vote is still too close to call. Reuters writes:

The Datafolha poll, released on Wednesday, was the fourth in three days to show that Rousseff is numerically in front of her rival Aecio Neves, the financial markets' favorite who has promised business-friendly policies to revive a sluggish economy.

Brazil's stocks and currency sold off for a second straight session on Tuesday after polls indicated that Neves is losing momentum in a race that he appeared to be leading last week.

Despite pessimism on financial markets, Brazilians surveyed by Datafolha were more optimistic about the future of their economy, which could be helping Rousseff, the polling firm said.

In the new survey, Rousseff's share of voter support has risen to 47 percent, from 46 percent in the previous Datafolha poll published on Monday. Support for Neves was unchanged at 43 percent.

While Rousseff has widened her numerical lead to four percentage points, the difference between them is still within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, 68, is back on the campaign trail after a brief hiatus, hoping that a burst of his signature charisma and rapport with the poor will be enough to push his chosen successor, President Dilma Rousseff, to a re-election victory in a closely fought runoff vote on Sunday. Voice of America writes:

The emcee's introduction at a rally in Belo Horizonte on Saturday also touched, intentionally or not, on an intriguing subplot - whether Lula, who oversaw an economic boom as president from 2003 to 2010, is laying the groundwork for his own return as a candidate in 2018.

For now, though, the focus is firmly on whether the gravelly voiced former union leader whom U.S. President Barack Obama once called "the most popular politician on earth" can help Rousseff eke out a victory despite an economy that has slowed sharply since Lula left office.

Recent polls have shown Rousseff neck-and-neck with Aecio Neves of the centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party, who is proposing more business-friendly policies and a crackdown on corruption that has plagued the ruling Workers' Party.

While some believe Lula's star has faded a bit amid Brazil's recent troubles, others say his support is just what's needed to push Rousseff over the top.