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Rousseff Bid for Second Term Suffers Setback in New Ibope Poll

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff lost support for her re-election bid in an Ibope poll released yesterday, following other surveys over the past month that also showed her support eroding ahead of balloting in October.

Rousseff’s election support fell to 37 percent this month from 40 percent in March in a poll posted on the website G1 that pitted her against nine other candidates including Aecio Neves and Eduardo Campos. Support for Senator Neves, from the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, was 14 percent, compared to 13 percent previously. Former Pernambuco state Governor Campos saw his support hold at 6 percent, according to the April 10-14 survey of 2,002 people. Rousseff has enough support for a first-round win, according to the poll that has a margin of error of two percentage points.

“This shows that Rousseff is continuing on a downward trend and that she’s losing political muscle,” said Andre Cesar, director of consulting firm Prospectiva. “She’s getting to a dangerous point for a competitive candidacy. Having less than 35 percent of voting intentions is dangerous.” The approval rating of Rousseff’s government was at 34 percent in April, compared to 36 percent in March, the Ibope poll showed.

Under Rousseff’s watch, growth has decelerated to the slowest pace for a Brazilian president since Fernando Collor, who resigned in 1992 on corruption allegations. Her policies to revive the economy stoked inflation that has a 40 percent chance of breaching the 6.5 percent upper limit of policy makers’ target range, according to the central bank.

Thirteen percent of respondents are unsure of whom they would vote for, up from 12 percent in March, according to the Ibope poll.

Political Liability

Negative evaluation of Rousseff’s performance rose to 28 percent from 22 percent, according to a Vox Populi poll released yesterday on the online edition of magazine Carta Capital. Her positive evaluation was 32 percent, compared with 34 percent in February, according to the April 6-8 poll of 2,200 voters. The margin of error is 2.1 percentage points.

The increase in her disapproval rating hasn’t reduced her lead ahead of the October election, according to the Vox Populi poll. The president’s support for re-election was 40 percent, compared to 41 percent in February, the poll shows.

Unemployment in March unexpectedly fell to 5 percent from 5.1 percent, below all estimates from economists surveyed by Bloomberg and a record low for the month, the national statistics institute said yesterday in Rio de Janeiro. In December 2013, the jobless rate fell to a record 4.3 percent, less than half the rate a decade earlier.

The real rose to a five-month high of 2.2189 per dollar on April 7 while the Ibovespa stock index rose the most in the world after Rousseff’s support fell to 38 percent from 44 percent in a Datafolha poll that pitted her against Senator Neves and former governor of Pernambuco Campos.

’Convincing Responses’

The real yesterday gained 0.3 percent to close at 2.2367 per U.S. dollar. Consumer prices in the month through mid-April rose 0.78 percent due to higher food prices, and in the prior 12 months jumped 6.19 percent, the statistics institute said yesterday on its website.

The polls “reflect a moment of criticism for the government, and if it doesn’t come up with convincing responses, there’s going to be an increasing decline in popularity,” Joao Paulo Peixoto, a political science professor at the University of Brasilia, said before the release of the Ibope poll. “The economy is linked to politics, and inflation is certainly the biggest factor.”

Support for Neves was 16 percent in the Vox Populi poll, compared with 17 percent in the previous poll. Campos garnered 8 percent, compared with 6 percent.

To win in the first round in October, a candidate needs to have more than 50 percent of the vote or more votes than all other candidates combined.

“This survey was carried out during a period of bad news for Rousseff,” Prospectiva’s Cesar said. “At the same time, people’s awareness of her adversaries is low. They are still a little unknown.”

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