A freefall drop in Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's popularity following last month's social unrest is altering the outlook for next year's presidential elections, according to a poll released Tuesday.
Rousseff's approval rating plunged 24.4 points, with 49.3% of Brazilians approving her performance while 47.3% disapprove according to the CNT/MDA survey showed. In June, Brazil's first female president enjoyed 73.7% and 20.4% disapproval.
Her slumping popularity was linked to the massive nationwide demonstrations that brought more than one million angry Brazilians onto the streets to demand better public services and an end to rampant political corruption.
The survey of 2,002 people was conducted between July 7 and 10, with a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points. The results translated into a sharp fall in voting intentions for Rousseff in next year's presidential polls, from 52.8% in June to 33.4% this month.
The main beneficiary was former environment minister Marina Silva, who was credited with 20.7% of voting intentions, up from 12.5% in June.
Silva garnered a surprising 20 million votes – 19% of the total -- in the first round of the 2010 presidential election, won by Rousseff. A figurehead of Brazil's environment movement, Silva, an evangelical Protestant, has been a dogged fighter for the protection of the Amazon rainforest.
Aecio Neves, the likely standard bearer of the opposition Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB), was credited with 15.2%, down from 17% in June.
Rousseff is still favored to win re-election next year but if the polls were held today, she would be forced into a runoff vote in which she might be defeated if one of her rivals managed to capitalize on these votes, said Clesio Andrade, president of the National Confederation of Transport (CNT), which commissioned the survey.
Another poll by the Datafolha pollster two weeks ago found that the approval rating of the Rousseff government had plunged from 54.2% a month ago to 31.3% while disapproval soared from 9% to 29.5%.