It is a very tight race. Perhaps the tightest since democracy returned to Brazil. I have been very impressed by Aecio’s rise but Dilma has grown at the same time. Before the Oct. 5, election she was polling at around 40 percent. Now with only two candidates her numbers have grown. Aecio almost dropped out of the race in September but the attacks on Marina heartened him and his campaign and the Mineiro was able achieve a rather astounding 34 percent of the vote compared to Dilma’s 41 percent. With only with 7 percentage points of difference, Marina’s voter will be able to tip the scales, perhaps.
I am not sure how many of the voters will go either way but here are some reasons that either Dilma or Aecio could lose.
Reasons Aécio could lose
- He does not have enough density in the Northeast and North with their preponderance of beneficiaries of social redistribution programs like Bolsa Familia and Mais Medicos.
- Marina has not transferred her votes to him and she has been undecided in the level of support and unclear in terms of what she wants.
- Aécio will be gunned down by Lula/Dilma and PT propaganda machine, Just as Marina was. The PT propaganda machine and the weight of government control of “benefits” are hard to overcome.
- Aécio needs 65 or more percent of Marina’s 20 million votes and that seems like a goal too far.
- More people will vote “em branco or nulo” in the second round hurting Aecio more than Dilma.
- Brazil is essentially conservative and, as the reelection of traditional politicians in the first round shows, people will vote for the incumbent rather than change.
- Aecio’s discourse on management competency does not resonate with the voters and PT will try to show it is more image than reality.
- The PSDB is also tainted by corruption and Aecio is personally tainted by diverse shady affairs in Minas.
- Nationalist propaganda related to giving in to bankers and international interests favors the PT.
- Aécio’s personal history will become an issue. He is being portrayed as a playboy, a substance abuser and as disrespectful of women.
- New protestants (Evangelicos) don’t respect Aecio.
- Aécio is not convincing in his stated plans for continuity of popular social programs: fome zero, bolsa famila, MCMV, Mais médicos
- Most importantly, Brazil’s new middle class will decide the election and they see the PT continuity as a better option for preserving gains and hope for the future.
Reasons Dilma Cannot Win
- She is too tainted by the corruption scandals. People are not accepting the explanation that she was not aware of what was happening with her underlings.
- People want change after 12 years of PT.
- The economy is not performing. It’s currently in recession and growth has been disappointing for over 3 years.
- People therefore are no longer sensing improvements but rather unease and threat. So they ask: Are we better off than 4 years ago and the answer is “maybe no”. This doubt can be a vote killer.
- Inflation is over target and eating at gains most heavily among the poor who are Dilma’s electoral base.
- Formal sector jobs are not becoming available, people sense that desirable positions are not there in spite of low employment.
- Dilma has a negative personal image. “Ela e’ chata”, similar to Jose Serra on the Tucano side.
- She does not control and is not favored by the traditional media organizations in print and TV. Moreover, her implicit threats at media control have the monopolies doubly fearful of her second term so they are going at her hard with all the corruption ammunition the PT has given them.
- She will be hurt by the same protesters that took to the streets in 2013.
- The conservative Catholic church establishment is not supporting the PT to the same extent it has in the past.
- Inefficient program implementation undermines Dilma’s support.
- The market wants her gone, as does industry and finance capital so although they are providing contributions they are more strongly backing Aecio.
So there is a lot going on both sides and the race will come down to the wire. I still predict Dilma’s victory but I am out on a limb at this point.