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Brazil polls show Rousseff's popularity still on the rebound

Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, delivers a speech at the Brazil Infrastructure Opportunity event in New York, September 25, 2013. REUTE
Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, delivers a speech at the Brazil Infrastructure Opportunity event in New York, September 25, 2013. REUTE

By Maria Carolina Marcello

BRASILIA (Reuters) - President Dilma Rousseff continues to recover popularity lost after the massive protests that shook Brazil in June, bolstering her chances of re-election next year, two polls published on Friday showed.

The polls confirm the results of other recent public opinion surveys showing Rousseff has overcome the dramatic drop in support she suffered after the protests, which targeted all of Brazil's political elite, including her ruling Workers' Party.

The number of Brazilians who consider Rousseff's government "excellent" or "good" rose to 37 percent in late September from 31 percent in July, according to an Ibope opinion poll commissioned by the National Industry Confederation, or CNI.

That is still below the 55 percent level she polled in June before hundreds of thousands of angry Brazilians took to the streets to protest against corruption and poor public services. Rousseff responded with pledges to improve health and education and reform proposals to make politicians more accountable.

Rousseff's personal approval rating has risen to 54 percent from 45 percent since July, the poll said, while the number of Brazilians who trust her stewardship of the nation climbed to 52 percent from 45 percent.

"More Brazilians trust her now than those that don't," said Renato da Fonseca, research director at the CNI.

Another poll by Ibope published by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper on Friday confirmed Rousseff as the clear front-runner for the October 2014 election in which she is widely expected to seek a second term.

The poll of voter intentions showed that she is now 22 points ahead of her nearest potential rival, former presidential candidate and environmentalist Marina Silva, who is racing to register a new political party to be able to run in next year's election. Silva, the only politician to gain ground from the protests, had narrowed Rousseff's lead to 8 points in July.

Rousseff now has more voter backing than the two next possible contenders combined if the election were held today, the poll showed, indicating that while she might not be able to avoid a second-round vote, she would win a run-off.

Brazil's high cost of living could be her Achilles heel. The CNI/Ibope poll showed that 68 percent of Brazilians disapprove of her efforts to curb inflation, up from 57 percent in June, the last poll in which the question was asked.

The CNI/Ibope poll of 2,002 people was conducted between September 14 and 17 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points, the same as the Estado/Ibope poll, conducted between September 12 and 16.

(Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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