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Elections | Campos-Marina & The Party of Four

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Some observations on the political nuptials of  Marina and Eduardo Campos and the election polls, by Luis Nassif.

In a nutshell, either candidate of the PSDB — Serra or Neves — would eventually lose to President Dilma. In a third and fourth scenario, ex-Senator Marina Silva may command enough votes to force a second round.

The problem: Marina is not a likely leading lady. Foiled by the election tribunal in a bid to mount her own party, “The Network of Sustainability,”

First, a from the regional press, a quick summary of the current standings — I wish that infographic in my paper edition of the Folha would leap off the page — and finally some thoughts by the economic journalist Luis Nassif.

Without Marina’s Network of Sustainability, which failed to qualify as a legitimate political party, Dilma Rousseff would be reelected in the first round of the elections, according to the Datafolha survey published today by the Folha de S. Paulo.

In the most likely scenario, with  Marina Silva (PSB) out of the running, Dilma obtained 42% of the intentions to vote, compared with 21% for Aécio Neves (PSDB) and 15% for Eduardo Campos (PSB). Blank, annuled and “none of the above” represent 16%. Another 7% do not know who they will vote for.

Datafolha tested four scenarios for the 2014, alternating the names of Campos and Marina Silva, candidates for the PSB, and Aécio Neves and José Serra, of the PSDB.

In the other three combinations, Dilma would not have the votes to guarantee victory in the first turn.

In a simulation in which the dispute seems closer and more intense, the president receives 37% of the intentions, Marina receives 28%, and Serra attains 20%, the Folha said.

This scenario is, however, the least likely, now that the principal leaders of the PSB and PSDB have begun constructing the bids of their national presidents, Campos and Neves.

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Nassif now reads the tea leaves.

  1. This is an important new factor, no doubt. It enables Marina to get back into the game, but not as the leader of a party or coalition. In this way, at least, she prevents votes in her favor from falling into the lap of Dilma Rousseff.
  2. The polling numbers released today, while the iron is hot, distort reality. It was plainly obvious that in the days preceding the poll, the media spotlight fell heavily on the duo, affording it disproportionate coverage — which, by the way, it will not receive again in the future.  For this reason, the strengthening of Marina and her polling numbers must be read in context.
  3. Eduardo Campos has  risen to the level of two-digit support. This means the episode of the alliance PSB-Marina has made him more publicly recognizable. It does not mean, however, that these numbers represent committed votes. More polling must be done in order to determine whether he can make consistent progress or not. After the initial impact, the candidate with the most to gain will be Aécio Neves. Not to mention the McCarthyist fundamentalism of José Serra, who continues to count on allies in the media establishment.
  4. Now that the party is over, the PSB is left in a peculiar situation. Many governors have decided not to jump ship with regard to the coalition with the government. In the Northeast, the Brothers Gomes have begun bashing Campos. He will find it very difficult to enter Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and the southern states. It will increasingly depend on the Marina factor — whose voters tend to indicate Dilma as their second choice.

There will also be the following problems in the consolidation of a coherent discourse:

  1. In order to succeed, Campos and Marina will have to kiss two old ladies: public opinion in its wider sense and published opinion. To gain space in the news establishment, they will have to pay the pittance of rage-filled  attacks on Lula. In order to gain votes, it will have to present itself as a continuation of Lulism.  This is quite a dilemma.
  2. Marina represents the new. In moral questions, however, she is an evangelical Christian. She needs the backing of the DEM-PFL. But her radical, nearly religious, environmentalism will collide head-on with agribusiness and business groups;.

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