Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Good news for PT in the polls

The latest Datafolha poll puts Marta Suplicy, the present Workers Party (PT) mayor for Sao Paulo, in the lead in her bid to be re-elected. This is the first it's happened, with her passing the former leader, Social Democrat (PSDB) Jose Serra. Her share of the vote has risen by 10 points to 30% between the end of June and this week, compared to Serra's dip by 5 to 25%.

And further good news for the PT camp: Marta's rejection ratings are down, from 42% to 34%. But it's not as low as Serra's, who has the lowest rejection level of any candidate, at 11%. Should the contest go to a second round run-off this should give him some comfort. However, it must be frustrating for his campaign team, with the poll findings overshadowing the launch of his election website which can be found here.

According to the Datafolha's director, Mauro Paulino, the change in the PT fortunes is probably due to a more visible presence on the street as the campaign proper kicks off.

There must also be satisfaction in the Planalto (seat of national government) too. The latest CNT poll shows that people are feeling good about themselves and it's rubbing off on the administration. Lula's ratings have risen, from 29% to 38% who deem his work good while those who say it's bad have fallen 6 points to 18%.

On all the everyday issues, health, education, poverty, violence and economic well-being the figures are up, with those polled claiming things have improved since the last time they were asked, in June.

But there is a sting in the tail. Those who believe the promises made by Lula in his presidential campaign two years are not being fully completed has risen in the last year from 34% to 55%. His advisers will have to watch these figures if they're not to be caught out at some later stage. And the poll was taken just before the weekend and before the recent scandals over tax evasion at the Central Bank have made their way beyond the chattering classes. The question must be asked whether it will eventually break out beyond that section of the population and engage the public like the Waldomir scandal (accepting illegal campaign contributions) which broke at the beginning of this year.

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