UPDATE 4-Rousseff regains edge in Brazil presidential race as Silva slips

martes 23 de septiembre de 2014 18:12 GYT

(Updates with new poll data)

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA, Sept 23 (Reuters) - President Dilma Rousseff has regained a slight edge in Brazil's presidential race after weeks of aggressive campaigning against environmentalist Marina Silva, who is losing some voter support in the campaign's homestretch, polls showed on Tuesday.

Rousseff and Silva are tied at 41 percent in a likely second-round runoff that is expected to decide the election, according to a survey by the Ibope polling firm.

Another survey by MDA showed Rousseff would get 42 percent of the votes against 41 percent for Silva if the runoff were held today, a one point advantage that amounts to a statistical tie as it is within the poll's margin of error.

Silva, who would be Brazil's first black president, was leading polls on the runoff before the Rousseff campaign unleashed a wave of negative campaign ads questioning Silva's ability to lead Latin America's largest economy.

Anxiety about Rousseff's recovery in the polls has weighed on Brazilian financial markets in recent days. Sao Paulo's Bovespa stock index lost more than 1 percent on the poll numbers and Brazil's currency weakened past 2.40 per dollar for the first time in seven months.

After four years of sluggish growth and heavy-handed state intervention in the economy under the left-leaning Rousseff, investors are hoping the election will bring in a new president who will push for pro-market reforms that economists say are needed to lift Brazil out of its current rut.

Silva, a former senator and environment minister, surged in the polls after being thrust into the race last month following the death of her party's original candidate in a plane crash. She had been Vice President on the ticket before the crash. Recent polls have showed her support eroding, but she still looks like the best-placed challenger to unseat Rousseff.   Continuación...