UPDATE 5-Rousseff gains in Brazil presidential race as Silva slips

martes 23 de septiembre de 2014 20:19 GYT

(Recasts first paragraph, adds latest poll data from Vox Populi and Ibope)

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA, Sept 23 (Reuters) - President Dilma Rousseff has regained the edge in Brazil's presidential race after weeks of aggressive campaigning against environmentalist Marina Silva, who has lost ground among voters in the campaign's homestretch, polls showed on Tuesday.

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

According to another smaller poll by Vox Populi, Rousseff has overtaken Silva and opened a seven-point lead in an expected second-round of voting.

"This week will be critical to see if Rousseff still has momentum to flip the lead in more than one poll," said Joao Augusto Castro Neves of the Eurasia political risk consultancy, which views Rousseff as the favorite to win.

If no candidate wins an outright majority in the first round on Oct. 5, the election will be decided in a runoff between the top two vote-getters on Oct. 26.

Silva, who would be Brazil's first black president, was leading runoff polls 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 has lost more than 4 percent in the last five days on the poll numbers, and Brazil's currency weakened past 2.40 per dollar on Tuesday for the first time in seven months.   Continuación...