UPDATE 1-Brazilian candidate Rousseff keeps wide lead-poll

* Rousseff has 50 pct, Serra 27 pct

* Lula stepping up campaigning and rhetoric

By Raymond Colitt

BRASILIA, Sept 10 (BestGrowthStock) – Brazil’s ruling party
candidate, Dilma Rousseff, held a wide lead and would win the
October presidential race in a first round, an opinion poll
showed on Friday.

Rousseff, a career civil servant, garnered 50 percent voter
support while main opposition candidate Jose Serra received 27
percent, according to the Datafolha poll broadcast by TV
Globo.

The same poll last week showed Rousseff ahead with 50
percent and 28 percent for Serra.

Rousseff, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s former
chief of staff, would obtain 56 percent of the valid vote,
stripping out null and blank votes as occurs on election day.

The career civil servant has benefitted enormously from the
support of Lula, who is the country’s most popular president
due to his folksy charm and a booming economy.

Lula has stepped up his campaigning for Rousseff in recent
weeks, participating regularly in rallies with her.

On Friday he lashed out against Serra, a former health
minister, for introducing health care projects without
investing in them when he was governor of Sao Paulo.

The beginning of free TV advertisement last month gave
Rousseff her biggest surge, as many voters got a closer look at
the 62-year-old for the first time. As of last week she had
also raised more campaign funds than all of her rivals
combined.
<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ For a factbox on Brazil's political risk click [ID:nRISKBR] For full coverage of Brazil's election: [ID:nBRAZIL] For a graphic on all polls: http://link.reuters.com/vux47n ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

Serra, who was ahead in some polls as recently as June, has
focused his campaign on Brazil’s two most populous states —
Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais — in an effort to force Rousseff
into a run-off vote on Oct.31 [ID:N08104977]. To win in a first
round she needs more than 50 percent of the valid vote.

Rousseff would continue Lula’s mostly market-friendly
macroeconomic policies, which have ensured economic growth in
recent years.

But she also intends to heighten the role of state
companies in several key industries like oil, banking and
telecommunications.

Her 10-party governing coalition is expected to expand its
majority in Congress. But Brazilian parties are notoriously
undisciplined and could put her leadership ability to the test
early on, analysts say.

Former environment minister Marina Silva received 11
percent in the Datafolha poll, up slightly from 10 percent last
week.

The survey, which polled 11,660 people on Wednesday and
Thursday, had a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

(Reporting by Raymond Colitt; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

UPDATE 1-Brazilian candidate Rousseff keeps wide lead-poll