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Published: Saturday April 5, 2014 MYT 5:00:02 AM
Updated: Saturday April 5, 2014 MYT 5:01:32 AM

Never mind: Poll that sparked Brazil's outrage was wrong

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - It turns out that Brazil is still the land of the bikini.

A poll released on March 27 appeared to show that 65 percent of Brazilians believed women in revealing clothes "deserve to be attacked," sparking a furious backlash on social media, concern over risks to tourists during the football World Cup, and even a comment from Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's first woman President.

But, after more than a week of national soul-searching, a hitch emerged on Friday: The poll was totally wrong.

The government-affiliated think-tank that published the poll said that two graphics were accidentally switched in its presentation, leading to mistaken media reports.

Instead, 26 percent of Brazilians agree with the "deserve to be attacked" statement, the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) said.

Seventy percent of Brazilians disagreed "totally or partially" IPEA said in a statement, while 3.4 percent said they were "neutral."

"We apologize for the trouble caused," IPEA said.

The original, mistaken result raised eyebrows in a country where scantily clad women during Carnival and in places such as Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro are celebrated aspects of the national identity.

Still, the poll was picked up by media outlets around the world. Reuters did not report IPEA's original poll.

A social media campaign called "I don't deserve to be raped" gained tens of thousands of followers, receiving recognition from Rousseff.

"The organizer of the protest ... deserves my solidarity and respect," Rousseff said on Twitter on Monday.

IPEA said that other aspects of its report still highlighted risks to women in Brazilian society, such as spousal abuse.

"We express our solidarity to everyone who spoke up against violence and prejudice, and in defence of the freedom and safety of women," the IPEA statement said.

(Reporting by Leonardo Goy and Brian Winter; Editing by Grant McCool)

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