Brazil’s incumbent president Dilma Rousseff would win a second term in office comfortably and without a runoff if this year’s general elections were held today, an influential pollster in the country said on Thursday.
Despite a first term in office dominated by a stagnant economy and, later, anti-government protests, Rousseff would still hold a wide lead over her rivals, according to the poll by the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics, IBOPE.
The survey of 2,002 people conducted between 13 and 17 March, which had a margin of error of ±2%, gave the current president a vote share of between 40% and 43%, depending on which opponents she faced.
IBOPE gave those surveyed a variety of scenarios given not all candidates may yet have officially entered the race.
Rousseff’s nearest rival was Aécio Neves, a senator from Minas Gerais state and member of the country’s main opposition party, the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). He would garner around 13% of the vote, the poll suggested.
PSB candidate Eduardo Campos, who recently launched a scathing attack on the president, would get 6% of votes and third place.
Crucially, the IBOPE survey showed that many Brazilians have yet to make up their minds. Many responded that they would spoil their vote or simply did not know yet.
Although the Brazilian electoral system would normally require a candidate to reach the 50 percent threshold in order to avoid a second round, the pollster said that Rousseff would get more votes than all other candidates combined and therefore take the election in the first round.
Voting in the general elections on 5 October, based upon which the president, deputies, senators, state governors and state legislatures are appointed, is mandatory but Brazilians can spoil their vote or not vote for a legitimate reason which they then have to ‘justify’ to the authorities.
The news was welcomed by Rousseff and her Workers Party (PT), particularly after her approval ratings slumped from over 60% towards the beginning of her presidency to just 31% in the wake of last year’s mass anti-government protests, which saw over a million Brazilians take to the streets – although this had recovered to around 40% by November 2013.
Some 7% of respondents said they would vote for the former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, although he is not running and has publicly backed Dilma Rousseff, whom he put forward for the 2010 elections after reaching a maximum of two terms in office.
President Lula left office with approval ratings of 83%.
Extended version of report written for Anadolu Agency