Brazil presidential race sees dramatic change over past month



Brazil's presidential race has changed dramatically over the past month, with a newly-introduced candidate rising fast in the polls and almost certainly leading to a runoff.

A little over a month ago, all polls showed Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff was set to win a re-election, with her closest rival, Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) candidate Aecio Neves, trailing 10 to 15 points behind, and Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) candidate Eduardo Campos in the distant third place, with less than 10 percent of support.

While it could not say for certain that Rousseff would win the first round of voting, polls indicated that she would win a runoff relatively easily.

But on Aug. 13, Campos died in a plane crash, which gave the way for his running mate Marina Silva to take his place, and upended the campaigns.

Unlike Campos, Silva was not a newcomer to presidential campaigns. As a well-known politician and world-renowned environmentalist, she ran for president in 2010 for the Green Party, coming in third with more than 19 million voters in her favor.

She had planned to run again this year as the candidate of a new party, the Sustainability Network, but failed to get enough signatures to establish the political grouping. She then joined forces with the PSB.

Less than a week after Campos' death, polls showed support for the socialists has increased threefold. No longer eclipsed by her running mate, Silva obtained the numbers that Campos had never managed to reach.

In the following weeks, all polls showed Silva has not only overtaken Neves, but practically tied with Rousseff and even poised to defeat the incumbent in a runoff.

The latest polls, though, showed that support for Silva has hit a ceiling and even declined slightly. Silva and Rousseff now appeared to be technically tied in the second round.