UPDATE 3-New Brazil poll shows Silva beating Rousseff in runoff
(Add Neves criticism of Silva, paragraph 5)
By Anthony Boadle
BRASILIA Aug 27 (Reuters) - Environmentalist Marina Silva would handily beat President Dilma Rousseff if Brazil's October election goes to a runoff, a poll showed on Wednesday, an outcome that seemed unimaginable just a few weeks ago and one that would put an end to 12 years of Workers' Party rule.
Silva would win 43.7 percent of the votes to 37.8 percent for Rousseff in a runoff, said the survey by polling firm MDA. It was the second poll in less than 24 hours to show Silva ahead in such a scenario.
Both polls point to a probable runoff because Rousseff looks unlikely to win more than 50 percent of votes in the Oct. 5 election. The two top vote-getters would face off three weeks later.
Silva has clearly pushed the other main opposition candidate and market favorite, centrist Aecio Neves, into third place and is luring away some of his potential voters, the polls showed.
To keep alive his chances, Neves has had to target Silva. In an interview webcast by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper he focused on her lack of executive experience. Neves said he was better prepared to run the country and added: "Brazil is not for amateurs."
After four years of sluggish economic growth under Rousseff, many investors are hoping the election will bring in a new president who will put Brazil on a more market-friendly track, helping to lure investments needed to revive the world's seventh-largest economy.
A lifelong defender of the Amazon rainforest and a popular figure among young voters, Silva has upended the race since becoming a candidate last week. Silva had been the running mate of the Brazilian Socialist Party's previous contender, Eduardo Campos, who was killed in a plane crash on Aug. 13. Continuación...