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Published: Sunday February 23, 2014 MYT 7:50:02 AM
Updated: Sunday February 23, 2014 MYT 7:51:02 AM

Brazil presidential poll tips Rousseff win; Neves support slips

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff reacts during a press statement after a meeting at the 6th European Union (EU)-Brazil summit at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia January 24, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff reacts during a press statement after a meeting at the 6th European Union (EU)-Brazil summit at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia January 24, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff would likely win a second, four-year term if elections scheduled for October were held today, a poll published by the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper said on Saturday.

The survey, conducted February 19 and 20 by the Datafolha public opinion research group, gives Rousseff, a member of the Workers' Party, 47 percent of Brazilians' intended votes, the same amount she had in the last Datafolha poll conducted November 28 and 29.

Senator Aecio Neves, a former governor of Minas Gerais state and a member of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), saw his support slip to 17 percent from 22 percent in the previous poll. Eduardo Campos, the governor of Pernambuco state and member of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) saw his support edge up to 12 percent from 11 percent.

Rousseff's support has been edging higher in recent Datafolha surveys after a wave of nationwide protests against corruption and sub-standard public services saw her approval rating slip to 30 percent in late June from 65 percent in March, the newspaper said.

The Datafolha poll surveyed 2,614 people in 161 Brazilian cities. The margin of error is plus or minus two percentage points.

ENOUGH FOR FIRST-ROUND VICTORY

The 47 percent support for Rousseff in the Datafolha poll would translate into more than half of all valid votes, Folha said. That would be enough to win election in the first round of voting when the 18 percent of Brazilians the Datafolha poll expects to cast blank or "null" ballots are excluded.

If no candidate gets 50 percent of valid votes in the first round, the top two vote getters face a run-off.

By law all Brazilians over 18 must cast a ballot or face fines. Those 16 or 17, can vote if they choose. Those unwilling to chose a candidate can cast a blank or null vote, but the votes are not considered valid and are excluded from the calculation of candidates' support.

While the Datafolha survey showed the number of voters rating Rousseff's government "good or excellent" holding steady at 41 percent from the previous poll, it also showed an increase in the number of voters who disapprove of her performance.

Voters rating her government "bad or terrible" rose to 21 percent from 17 percent. Those rating the government "ok" fell to 37 percent from 47 percent.

While other polls have shown a recovery in Rousseff's support and approval since the June protests, a poll conducted by the Ibope public opinion research group and published by the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper on Friday showed Rousseff's approval rating slipping to 39 percent in February from 43 percent in November.

(Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by David Gregorio)

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