In a spell of good news for the handpicked candidate of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, an Ibope poll released yesterday shows Dilma Rousseff leading opposition candidate José Serra, 40 percent to 35 percent.
According to Rafael Lucchesi, director of operations for the national confederation of industry, which commissioned the poll, Dilma’s position is bolstered by “the economy, the popularity of the government, the popularity of the president, and his capacity to influence the electoral process.” Economic growth reached 9 percent in the first quarter of 2010, the best performance in 14 years, despite continued malaise in the global economy.
Lula’s effect on the race is also growing. He has a 75 percent approval rating—the record for a Brazilian president—and is working with his party, the Partido dos Trabalhadores, to raise Dilma’s name recognition among voters. In March, Ibope found that only 58 percent of Brazilians could identify the candidate that Lula supports; in yesterday’s poll, that number grew to 73 percent.
The campaign for the October 3, 2010, presidential vote is still in its early stage. The candidates formally accepted their nominations just two weeks ago, and until the World Cup is over on July 11, much of Brazil’s attention is on South Africa.