According to a new poll, Brazil’s incumbent candidate Dilma Rousseff took the lead in the country’s presidential race. Rousseff, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s former cabinet chief, is supported by 40% of those surveyed, informs an Ibope poll for the National Industrial Confederation, or CNI, that was published Wednesday in Brazilian capital Brasília.
Former São Paulo governor José Serra, of the opposition Party of the Social Democracy, had 35%. The nationwide poll of 2,002 people was taken June 19 to June 21 and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.
“It’s becoming more and more likely that Rousseff will be elected in the first round,” said Rafael Cortez, a political analyst at São Paulo-based Tendências Consultoria Integrada. “Little by little the electorate is realizing that Rousseff is supported by Lula. That reinforces her favoritism.”
This week was the first time Rousseff, 62, surpassed Serra in a CNI/Ibope poll. In March, the Workers’ Party candidate trailed with 33% to Serra’s 38%. Green Party candidate Marina Silva, a former environment minister in Lula’s government, had 9% compared with 8% in March.
If no candidate wins a majority in the first round of voting October 3, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff four weeks later. Rousseff is favored to beat Serra 45% to 38% in a second-round scenario, according to the poll.
Rousseff has been rising in the polls as voters come to identify her as the president’s preferred successor. According to Ibope, 73% of those surveyed in June recognized her as Lula’s candidate compared with 58% in March.
Lula, 64, is barred by the constitution from running for a third consecutive term. His approval rating in Wednesday’s poll rose to a record 85% from 83% in March.
Serra, 68, served as Health minister when his party last held the presidency, from 1995 through 2002, under Fernando Henrique Cardoso. The former governor of Brazil’s most populous and richest state lost a presidential runoff in October 2002 with 39% of the vote to Lula da Silva’s 61%.