RIO DE JANEIRO – Opposition candidate Jose Serra and ruling party hopeful Dilma Rousseff are running neck and neck in the first poll taken since the official start of the campaign for the Oct. 3 presidential election in Brazil, according to results published Saturday in the daily Folha de Sao Paulo.
The standard-bearer of the centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party, or PSDB, obtained 37 percent of voter preference in a survey taken this week by the prestigious demographic researcher Datafolha, which means Serra has dropped two points compared to the last poll taken at the end of June.
Rousseff, the candidate for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s center-left Workers Party, or PT, received 36 percent of voter preference, one percentage point less than in June.
The Green Party candidate, Marina Silva, went up a point to 10 percent.
The don’t-knows remain at 10 percent and those determined to void their ballots stood at 4 percent, while minority candidates split the remaining 3 percent, according to the same survey, which has a margin of error of two percentage points.
According to this scenario, in which no candidate will get more than half the votes, Rousseff and Serra will face off in a second round, for which they also appear in a virtual dead heat with 46 percent of voter preference for the PT candidate and 45 percent for the social democrat.
The campaign officially kicked off on July 6, the date from which the candidates could organize rallies, caravans and other street events, as well as publish their ads on the Internet
Campaign advertising on television remains restricted and will only begin to air on Aug. 17, while the rounds of debates are still in abeyance.
The three leading candidates had agreed to stage the first debate on Monday, which was to be transmitted on several Internet news portals, but this week Rousseff and Serra cried off because of agenda conflicts.