Two and a half months before the October 3 Brazilian presidential election José Serra, the opposition candidate said this Saturday in Rio that he didn’t wish to comment on the results of the latest poll, which shows his opponent ahead.
The former governor of Sao Paulo says that there’s still plenty of time for campaigning. “Nothing now is decisive. The important thing is the result of the ballot box.”
According to a survey by polling concern Ibope, released on Friday, the candidate backed by president Lula, Dilma Rousseff is leading the race to the presidential Palace, with 39% of the votes, five percentage points ahead of Serra. The survey was commissioned by TV Globo and the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo
Serra made the statement while walking through the center of Duque de Caxias, a Rio suburb, alongside his running mate as vice-president, Índio da Costa. More than 3,000 people attended the event.
Another poll, by DataFolha, shows both candidate in a technical tie with Rousseff getting 36% of voter intention against 37% for Serra.
A DataFolha poll earlier in June showed Serra with 39%, two percentage points ahead of Rousseff, which means President Lula da Silva’s hand picked candidate also lost a point.
Former Environment Minister Marina Silva of the Green Party climbed to 10% from 9% in the latest DataFolha poll published by Folha de São Paulo.
The undecided remained at 10% and those who plan to vote blank or annul their ballots, 4%, while the rest of small parties shared 3%.
Rousseff and Serra have been in a virtual tie for the last three months, with poll results fluctuating in response to their campaign advertisement on TV. All polls show that Rousseff, Lula da Silva’s former chief of staff, has closed a gap on Serra as large as 20 percentage points since December.
She has benefited mostly from the support of the enormously popular Lula da Silva and breakneck economic expansion that is creating millions of jobs this year.
The results contrast with a Vox Populi poll on Friday that showed Rousseff with a lead of 8 percentage points over Serra. Some analysts said the difference may be due to diverging polling samples.
However it seems that none of the leading candidates is going to manage the 50% of ballots plus one to avoid a run-off, when polls show there is also a technical tie although Ms Rousseff figures with 46% vote intention and Serra, 45%.
The presidential campaign began officially last July 6 when candidates were allowed to organize rallies, caravans and other street demonstrations plus publicity in the Internet. Television remains restricted until August 17. A round of debates has also been scheduled but a timetable has yet to be agreed.
Meantime President Lula on the campaign trail in support of her protégé compared Ms Rousseff with Jesus Christ for having been arrested and tortured by the military regime in the seventies.
Speaking in Pernambuco Lula da Silva said that “this woman was arrested for fighting for freedom when it was banned. This woman was viciously tortured and there’s nothing worse that torture. You know that because Jesus Christ was also tortured.”
Ms Rousseff in her early twenties belonged to the Armed Revolutionary Vanguard Palmares. She was detained while doing her assigned duty: looking after weapons from the group. During 22 days she was exposed to water boarding, beatings, electric shocks and was finally released in 1972. Opposition candidate Serra was forced into exile.
“The scars of her body have closed but what is really fantastic is that the injuries to the soul and her conscience have also healed,” stressed the Brazilian president.