UPDATE 3-Silva surges in Brazil election race, threatens Rousseff
(Adds presidential debate, details, paragraphs 3, 5-6, 13-14)
By Anthony Boadle
BRASILIA Aug 26 (Reuters) - A surging Marina Silva has narrowed President Dilma Rousseff's lead in Brazil's presidential race, a new opinion poll showed on Tuesday, paving the way for a likely second-round runoff in which the popular environmentalist looks well-positioned to win.
Silva, who was thrust into the presidential race last week following the death of her party's candidate, has 29 percent of voter support heading into the Oct. 5 vote, according to the survey by polling institute Ibope.
The poll showed Rousseff with 34 percent, down from 38 percent in the previous Ibope survey in early August. The other main opposition candidate, Senator Aecio Neves, has also dropped four percentage points to 19 percent since the last Ibope poll.
In a likely second-round runoff on Oct. 26 between the top two vote-getters, Silva would defeat Rousseff by a margin of nine percentage points, according to the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
The election could decide whether the commodities powerhouse takes a more market-friendly direction that attracts investment needed to revive the world's seventh-largest economy.
A renowned defender of the Amazon rainforest who placed a strong third in the 2010 presidential election, Silva has upended this year's race since declaring her candidacy last Wednesday. However, many political analysts warn that both Rousseff and Neves have plenty of television ad time, along with more powerful and better-funded parties behind them, to counter Silva's rise before election day.
Silva surged 10 percentage points ahead of Neves, the centrist candidate favored by investors, and now threatens to dislodge the ruling Workers' Party in its toughest election since it won office in 2002, the Ibope poll showed. Continuación...