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Polls give Rousseff growing lead ahead of Brazil vote

24 october 2014, 12:27

 Brazil's leftist President Dilma Rousseff is gaining ground over center-right challenger Aecio Neves, two polls found Thursday, three days ahead of a runoff election that has been too close to call, AFP reports.

Polling firm Datafolha found Rousseff had 53 percent of the vote against 47 percent for Neves heading into Sunday's hard-fought second round.

Ibope, another leading pollster, gave the incumbent 54 percent and the challenger 46 percent.

In both cases, the gap between the candidates was larger than the two-percentage-point margin of error, the first time since the October 5 first-round vote that the statistical dead heat between the two candidates has been broken in the opinion polls.

The Sao Paulo stock market fell 3.24 percent Thursday as the estimates were released.

Previous polls from both firms had found Rousseff trailing Neves.

Then Datafolha gave her a razor-thin lead.

But the numbers were always within the margin of error.

Datafolha also found that support for Rousseff's government had risen two points to 44 percent since its last poll was released Wednesday.

That is the highest approval rating since June 2013, when million-strong street protests erupted against corruption, poor public services and record spending on the World Cup.

The poll also appeared to show that Rousseff's aggressive attacks on Neves in recent days have worked: the number of people saying they "would never vote" for the former governor rose seven points, to 41 percent.

Rousseff, Brazil's first woman president and the standard-bearer for the ruling Workers' Party's massive gains against poverty in the past 12 years, took 41.6 percent of the vote in the first round.

Neves, the scion of a famous political family and the business community's favorite to end the recession gripping the world's seventh-largest economy, took 33.6 percent.

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