Brazil’s incumbent candidate Dilma Rousseff took the lead in the country’s presidential race, according to a new poll. Rousseff, President Lula da Silva’s former cabinet chief, is supported by 40% of those surveyed, according to an Ibope poll for the National Industrial Confederation, or CNI, that was published Wednesday in Brasilia.
Former Sao Paulo Governor Jose Serra, of the opposition Social Democracy Party, 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 Sao Paulo-based Tendencias Consultoria Integrada. “Little by little the electorate is realizing that Rousseff is supported by Lula da Silva. 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 da Silva’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%.