SÃO PAULO – The number of people set to vote for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at this year’s general elections has slipped to a 2014 low, according to a poll of voters’ intentions published on Friday.
Only 34% of Brazilians questioned said they would vote for a second term in office for Rousseff, the latest survey by media polling institute Datafolha of 4,337 people across Brazil revealed – down from 37% in early May, and 44% in February.
However, Rousseff’s closest rival presidential hopefuls, Aécio Neves and Eduardo Campos, also both registered a drop in support, unlike in May, when both made gains.
“Everyone has lost out. Dilma has dropped [but] no one has gained: only the group of undecided voters (13%) or those who plan on spoiling their ballot (17%) has grown, which shows Brazilians’ disenchantment with politics,” Cristiana Lôbo, political commentator for Brazil’s Globo News, said.
Neves, presidential pre-candidate for the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), slipped from 20% to 19%; Campos, the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) pre-candidate, fell further, from 11% to 7%.
“The results are completely different from the last survey, when the undecided group shrank, leading to gains for all three candidates,” political scientist Maria do Socorro Braga from the Federal University of São Carlos told the Anadolu Agency.
“Those who are as yet unsure of their preferred candidate will end up choosing closer to the election, particularly as political TV broadcasts begin. There is plenty that could still change,” Braga said.
The political scientist says some of those undecided voters will also wait on announcements of political support from influential figures, including the popular outgoing Chief Justice Joaquim Barbosa.
Rousseff is still clearly in the lead: her 34% is still on a par with the 35% garnered by all other 11 candidates combined.
However, with so many undecided or set to spoil their vote, it is far from clear whether Rousseff can now win without the need for a runoff.
Despite calls from backbenchers in Rousseff’s Workers’ Party (PT) to bring back her predecessor, the popular former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, commentators have said that the party will not entertain this idea unless Rousseff’s rating were to fall below 30%.
Ex-president Lula left office with approval ratings of over 80%, but has already said he will back Rousseff and not be running.
However, once registered, parties may change their candidate at late as three weeks before the first round of the general elections.
Brazilians go to the polls on 5 October this year, and should no one candidates get 50% of the compulsory vote, a second round between the top two polling candidates will be held on 26 October.
As well as the president, the vote will also elect deputies and senators for the National Congress, state government and state legislatures.